The Impacts of Undergraduate Service-Learning on Post-Graduation Employment Outcomes

Paul H. Matthews, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Xuedong Wu


This article highlights the results of a study assessing service-learning’s impact on post-graduation employment for students from a large, public land-grant university who had completed their undergraduate degree. Survey data collected three years after graduation yielded 44 unique pairs matched for undergraduate major, graduation date, gender, and academic performance, but with only a single member of each pair having taken service-learning coursework. The study investigated employment outcomes including time needed to find a first job, starting salary, timing of promotions and raises, and type of employment. Paired t-tests found significantly higher starting salaries and significantly shorter time to receive a first raise for graduates with service-learning experience. No significant differences were found regarding (a) whether either set received a raise or promotion, (b) whether the job was in their desired field, (c) the overall time to find an initial job, or (d) the length of time from hiring to first promotion. These results represent the first empirical data assessing service-learning’s potential influence on economic aspects of post-university employment.


service-learning, post-graduation employment, matched pairs, salary, post-graduation impacts

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