College and Beyond: Outcomes of a Liberal Arts Education

December 2018 - Current

Project Summary

Building on the work of the Mellon Research Forum, University of Michigan's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) has brought together seven 4-year postsecondary institutions (U-M, the City University of New York, Georgia College and State University, Indiana University, Truman State University, University of Houston and University of California, Irvine) to pilot measures of the liberal arts educational experience linked to various long-term outcomes for students. This collaboration is laying the foundation to scaling the work and develop the kind of large data infrastructure that can be used to represent the nature of student's’ liberal arts experience and demonstrate its impact on long-term life outcomes.

Research Objectives

The goals of the project are to:

  • Develop and refine a set of measures of the liberal education experience that are validated, transferable across institutions, and scalable.
  • Develop, refine, and collect a set of outcome measures that capture the full breadth of long-run impacts a liberal education is believed to provide.
  • Provide preliminary evidence on the relationship between measures of liberal education and various outcomes for a set of students with diverse educational experiences albeit representing a limited number of institutions.
  • Delineate a clear path for scaling up the project (both measures and outcomes) to a much larger set of institutions and students with additional foundation support.


Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center

Funding Partners

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

University of Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS)