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Placement Rates, Other Data Colleges Provide Consumers Are Often Alternative Facts

When prospective students want to know how much money they’ll make if they major in a particular field at Montgomery College, it goes to great lengths to give them an answer.

The Maryland community college used a private company to painstakingly cross-check 22,000 graduates’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other identifying information against professional licensing records from state agencies, online career sites such as LinkedIn and CareerBuilder, and other sources to get as close as it could to a true idea of future earnings.

That’s about as accurately as any college can tell you the likelihood of whether its alumni get jobs when they graduate — something surveys show incoming freshmen consider the single most important reason to get a degree.