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Seniors and VSE survey

  • 1.  Seniors and VSE survey

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi,

    I hope everyone is safe and healthy.

    We have a question about counting seniors.  Some schools add their graduating seniors into their alumni of record base for US News since they do become alumni in the reporting fiscal year.  If you do so for US News, then for the VSE Survey -  do you include the graduating seniors in the undergraduate alumni totals OR do you include in the student totals?

    Thanks so much.


    Paula
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    Brandeis University 
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  • 2.  RE: Seniors and VSE survey

    Posted 11 days ago
    We include graduating seniors in the student totals.





  • 3.  RE: Seniors and VSE survey

    Posted 11 days ago
    If you read the VSE instructions for Section 4a - Additional Details on Section 3 - Individuals, you may only count a constituent once.

    Meaning, if you count the graduating students as alumni in section 1.A.1, you cannot count them again as students in part 1.A.4.  Here is what the instructions say:


    In my travels, I find most organizations do not treat graduating seniors as alumni.  While they might have been an alum at the time you collected the data (typically the last day of the fiscal year), they were only alumni for a brief month or two.  While you might have had a robust senior gift program, that doesn't justify treating them as alumni for participation rate purposes.  And if you do, then that correspondingly drops your student giving rate precipitously.

    John

    John H. Taylor
    Principal
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987







  • 4.  RE: Seniors and VSE survey

    Posted 11 days ago

    Back when this issue was first raised publicly in a Wall Street Journal article, I expected CASE to just say that seniors should be counted as students, since they were (at least mostly) students for most of the fiscal year and only alumni at the end.

     

    But CASE didn't say that.  Instead, they said that institutions were free to count them either as students or as alumni, subject to the reasonable proviso that if you counted graduating senior donors as alumni, you also had to count all graduating seniors as alumni.

     

    There is no requirement to "justify" treating graduated seniors who graduate during a reporting year as alumni for that year.  Each institution is free to do so at their sole discretion.  Institutions with a strong senior giving program are likely to increase their alumni participation rate, at least marginally, by electing to treat current-year graduates as alumni rather than as students.  Since alumni participation is a measure of educational quality in the U.S. News undergraduate ratings, and since the scoring on those ratings is often very compressed so that small differences in the raw score can affect an institution's rating, it is the case that including graduating students as alumni might benefit a measure that institutions care about.  Electing that approach would, of course, lower the rate of student giving, which would be a contrary consideration, for any institutions that care as much about student participation.

     

    If CASE had said that graduating seniors should be counted as students, I'd be right there encouraging that the standards be followed.  Since CASE didn't say that, I guess that I'd encourage institutions to make the election that they decide serves them best, rather than that they necessarily follow the standard that I'd rather CASE had adopted, but did not.

     

    My US$0.02 worth; the usual disclaimers apply.

     

    Good luck!

     

    Alan

     

    Alan S. Hejnal

    Data Quality Manager

     

    SNAGHTML5cbfa34

     

    Smithsonian Institution - Office of Advancement

    600 Maryland Ave SW Ste 600E

    PO Box 37012, MRC 527

    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Voice: 202-633-8754 | Email: HejnalA@si.edu                                                                                                                                            

     






  • 5.  RE: Seniors and VSE survey

    Posted 11 days ago
    We are in 100% agreement.  I think it is critical to emphasize that you cannot have it both ways.  They are either students or alumni, not both.

    And to further emphasize, in whichever category you want to count them as donors, the entire senior class must be counted in the denominator.  You cannot make an argument that they are "lost," nor can you persuade me that 100% wasn't solicited for the senior class gift.  They were a captive audience while you had them :-).

    John

    John H. Taylor
    Principal
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987