2016–2017 HEDS Alumni Survey

The HEDS Alumni Survey asks alumni about the quality and impact of their undergraduate educational experiences, including cocurricular activities such as internships, study abroad, and community service. The survey also asks alumni to evaluate the impact of their undergraduate education on their postgraduate critical thinking, problem solving, and other learning outcomes. Finally, the survey asks about postgraduate employment, college satisfaction, and college debt. The survey, which should take no more than 15 minutes to complete, is based both on Wabash National Study findings on effective teaching practices and the AAC&U LEAP learning outcomes. All institutions, regardless of whether they belong to HEDS, are welcome to participate. (Download a print version of the information about the 2016–2017 HEDS Alumni Survey.)

The HEDS Alumni Survey asks alumni to report on four dimensions of their undergraduate experience:

  • Good Teaching and High-Quality Interactions with Faculty – 9 questions, Cronbach's α = 0.92
  • Challenging Assignments and High Faculty Expectations – 14 questions, Cronbach's α = 0.91
  • Interactions with Diversity – 5 questions, Cronbach's α = 0.87
  • Development of Social and Civic Engagement – 4 questions, Cronbach's α = 0.82

We recommend that you administer this survey to alumni 5 and 10 years after graduation as we can only guarantee comparison data for those class years. The 5-year-out cohort includes alumni who graduated in 2011 and 2012, and the 10-year-out cohort includes alumni who graduated in 2006 and 2007. You may also administer the survey to alumni who graduated at other times.

Survey Administration

You can administer the HEDS Alumni Survey for any 3–6 week period between September 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The latest possible date to begin administering the HEDS Alumni Survey is June 9, 2017. However, please note that this will only allow for a 3-week survey period. Institutions that plan to begin their survey after this date will need to register for the 2017–2018 HEDS Alumni Survey. We will begin the 2017–2018 HEDS Alumni Survey administration on September 1, 2017.

Administration Methods

  • Email method – A member of the HEDS staff sends your alumni an individualized email invitation with a unique link to the survey. If alumni do not complete the survey, we will send reminders via email. You may customize both the invitation and the reminders, and each message appears to come from your institution.
  • Authentication method – You provide alumni with a general link and they use a unique password, such as their email address, to log into the survey. We suggest this method when mailing log-in instructions to alumni via letter, postcard, or email.
  • Paper method – You ask alumni to fill out a paper version of the survey. You will be responsible for printing, distributing, and collecting the paper surveys and submitting the data to us in a format we specify. We recommend that you use this method to administer the survey at an alumni event or to contact alumni by mail.

For an additional fee, you can select more than one administration method. To ensure consistency in the administration process and the integrity of the comparative data, we do not allow institutions to administer any HEDS survey through their own survey engines.

Reports and Data Files

 HEDS institutionsInstitutions not in HEDS
Summary reports that compare your alumni to alumni at all other participating institutions on key indicators in the HEDS Alumni Survey.
Frequency report that compares your alumni to alumni at all other participating institutions. (This will include comparisons for alumni 5 years and 10 years following graduation depending on which groups of alumni your institution surveyed.)
SPSS and/or Microsoft Excel file with your participants’ responses. (We will add values/labels to SPSS files.)
Interactive report that compares your alumni’s mean scores on the four dimensions of undergraduate experiences to those of alumni from other HEDS institutions that have participated in the last few years. You can create customized comparison groups with this report.  
SPSS and/or Microsoft Excel file with participant-level data from HEDS institutions that participated in the last few years. Institutional identifiers will be included in the file, but participants’ identifiers will be removed.  


 HEDS institutionsInstitutions not in HEDS
Base administration cost
  • One 3–6 week survey administration
  • One administration method: email, authentication, or paper
  • Up to 1,000 recipients
  • One survey invitation and up to three reminders for email method
  • 10 supplemental questions
  • Reports and data files as described above
$500 $1,600
Additional administration method(s) (email, authentication, or paper) + $250 per additional method
+ $250 per additional method
11 to 20 supplemental questions + $250 + $250

Additional responses (after first 1,000 responses; count includes all administration methods, incomplete responses, and duplicate responses; invoiced after the survey closes)

+$0.50 per extra response +$0.50 per extra response
Late registration fee (see explanation in registration section below) + $250 + $250

Other HEDS Alumni Survey Information

  • Survey liaison – You will need to identify one individual from your institution to serve as the survey liaison to handle survey logistics, communicate with the HEDS staff, etc.
  • IRB approval – The HEDS Alumni Survey has been approved by the Wabash College Institutional Review Board (IRB) for use as a voluntary survey. We encourage your institution’s survey liaison to contact the IRB at your institution to determine whether their approval is needed prior to administering the survey.
  • Mandatory participation Institutions should not make the survey mandatory or use survey incentives that may affect voluntary participation without consulting their IRB. In addition, the introduction to the HEDS Alumni Survey, which informs participants that the survey is voluntary, cannot be altered.
  • Embedding institution names in the survey – We will configure the survey so that your institution’s name appears prominently on each page.
  • Supplemental questions – You can add up to 20 supplemental questions, the first 10 of which are free, related to the HEDS Alumni Survey's subject matter at the end of the survey. Each subquestion on a multipart or matrix question counts as one supplemental question. We ask that you submit finalized questions during registration. Your data file will include participants' responses to these questions, but the HEDS reports will not.
  • Subsamples – You may request unique invitations, reminders, supplemental questions, etc., for different subsamples (e.g., 5-year-out vs. 10-year-out alumni). However, due to the additional labor such requests require, we will treat the surveys for each subsample as separate surveys, and the full survey price will apply to each one.
  • Definition of cohorts – The 5-year-out cohort includes alumni that graduated in 2011 and 2012, and the 10-year-out cohort includes alumni that graduated in 2006 and 2007.
  • Paper administration – To preserve the integrity of the questions, the HEDS Alumni Survey may not be altered, and the paper survey may only be used for one administration.
  • Survey changes – We made minor revisions to the 2016–2017 HEDS Alumni Survey, removing several demographics questions because we now collect that data directly from participating institutions. You can see a list of these changes here.
  • Qualtrics – HEDS administers its surveys via the commercial survey engine Qualtrics. Survey liaisons can use Qualtrics to monitor responses during the administration, and they can also view and download reports of participants' responses during and after the administration period, until August 15, 2018.

Registering for the HEDS Alumni Survey

You can register for the 2016–2017 HEDS Alumni Survey via the online registration form. At the time of registration, you may choose to pay with a credit card or receive an invoice and pay with a check. We send out invoices at the end of the month in which you register.

You must register at least 3 weeks prior to the date on which you plan to begin administering the survey. We will make decisions about accepting late registrations on a case-by-case basis. If we can accommodate a late registration, we will charge an additional $250 late fee.

HEDS Alumni Survey Administration Contact

Please contact Michelle Spencer (also at 765-361-6492) if you have any questions.