About Us

 

NC TOWER (North Carolina's Tool for Online Workforce and Education Reporting) is an online tool using information from the Common Follow-up System to provide aggregate information on students who attended public universities and community colleges in North Carolina. These data include programs of study, degrees attained, further enrollment, and wage and employment information. For more information about NC TOWER data, Common Follow-up System, and its partners, please check out the following info sections.

 

Funding for NC TOWER came from state funds designated for the operation of the North Carolina Common Follow-up System, as well as a Workforce Data Quality Initiative Grant that was awarded to the North Carolina Department of Commerce by the U.S. Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.

This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.

 

About the Data
Our Partners
About CFS
FAQs
  • What's the difference between student and graduate counts in NC TOWER, and internal agency statistics?

    There are two reasons for the slight discrepancies between figures in NC TOWER and counts of students and graduates published by the UNC General Administration and the NC Community College System.

    (1) NC TOWER counts unique individuals who were enrolled or graduating during a given school or program year (July 1 – June 30). Educational agencies often count degrees conferred, or fall semester enrollment, as part of their reporting requirements, and these reports may not correspond exactly to the July 1 – June 30 reporting year used by NC TOWER.

    (2) To maintain the data integrity, records with invalid Social Security Numbers are not included in NC TOWER. This prevents employment rates in NC TOWER from being distorted by invalid SSNs that do not have a match in the wage data. However, it also means that student and graduate counts will be slightly lower than agency statistics.

  • What does "After X Years" mean?

    NC TOWER looks at post-graduate outcomes for individuals starting one quarter after their degree is conferred. For instance, if a student graduated in May of 2006 (quarter two of 2006), that student's employment status "After 1 Year" will be determined by the presence or absence of associated quarterly wage records in any of the next four quarters (i.e., quarters three or four of 2006, or quarters one or two of 2007). Mean and percentile wages for “After 1 Year” are based on the sum of the individual's wages during the four quarters following degree conferral. Quarters in which no wages were earned are excluded from these calculations. Wage data is not adjusted for inflation, but simply reflects the actual dollar amounts of wages earned.

  • How does NC TOWER handle duplication?

    NC TOWER always counts the number of unique individuals in the population in question. For example, if a student majors in both History and Sociology, that student will be counted once for the number of History students, once for the number of Sociology students, and once and only once for the total number of bachelor's degree students. This also applies for employment at the level of industry sectors. If a graduate works several months at a retail clothing store before beginning employment in a local school during the first year after their graduation, that student will be counted once for employment in Retail Trade, once for employment in Educational Services, and once and only once for total employment.

  • What does "covered employment" mean?

    NC TOWER includes data on former students who are working in "covered employment" in North Carolina. "Covered employment" includes all individuals working for employers subject to North Carolina's unemployment insurance tax laws, as specified in Chapter 96, Article 2 of the North Carolina General Statutes. It is estimated that covered employment represents over 90% of North Carolina's total employment. However, employment that is not covered by North Carolina's unemployment insurance laws includes (but is not limited to):
    •    Individuals who are self-employed
    •    Individuals working for the federal government, including the military
    •    Individuals who are working outside of North Carolina  

  • What are the industry sectors used in NC TOWER?

    Industry sectors are based on NAICS "supersectors" used by the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Within NC TOWER, the Retail Trade, Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance sectors have been broken out of their BLS-designated supersector. The number of students working for employers with an unknown industry sector are not reported.

  • How does NC TOWER calculate enrollment after graduation?

    The data for enrollment after graduation reflect the number of graduates who were enrolled in further education at North Carolina public higher ed institutions in a given number of years after their graduation. This includes students enrolled in:

    •    Community College Curriculum Programs
    •    Community College Non-credit Programs (e.g., Occupational Continuing Education, Basic Skills)
    •    Public University Curriculum Programs

    A student’s enrollment status is determined by examining enrollment records for that student in the four quarters representing a given number of years after the student’s graduation. For instance, if a student graduated in May of 2006 (i.e., Q2 2006), that student's enrollment status one year after graduation will be determined by the presence or absence of enrollment records for that student in the next four quarters (i.e., Q3 2006, Q4 2006, Q1 2007, Q2 2007).

    In situations where a student graduated multiple times during a given school year, the last relevant graduation date is used as the reference point for the enrollment data match. For example, if a student received an Esthetics Technology Certificate in December 2005, and an Esthetics Instructor Certificate in May 2006, that student's enrollment status will be determined using Q4 2005 as a reference point when viewing outcomes for 2005-2006 graduates with Esthetic Technology Certificates, using Q2 2006 as a reference point when viewing outcomes for 2005-2006 graduates with Esthetic Instructor Certificates.
     

  • How does NC TOWER calculate employment after graduation?

    Employment rates data reflect the number of graduates from selected programs who were employed in "covered employment" in North Carolina in a given number of years after their graduation.

    An individual's yearly employment status is determined by examining quarterly unemployment insurance wage records for that individual in the four quarters representing a given number of years after the individual's graduation. For instance, if a student graduated in May of 2006 (i.e., Q2 2006), that student's employment status one year after graduation will be determined by the presence or absence of associated quarterly wage records in the next four quarters (i.e., Q3 2006, Q4 2006, Q1 2007, Q2 2007).

    In situations where a student graduated multiple times during a given school year, the last relevant graduation date is used as the reference point for the wage data match. For example, if a student received an Esthetics Technology Certificate in December 2005, and an Esthetics Instructor Certificate in May 2006, that student's employment status will be determined using Q4 2005 as a reference point when viewing outcomes for 2005-2006 graduates with Esthetic Technology Certificates, using Q2 2006 as a reference point when viewing outcomes for 2005-2006 graduates with Esthetic Instructor Certificates.

  • How does NC TOWER calculate employment by industry?

    Employment industry data reflect employment outcomes disaggregated by the industrial sector in which an individual's employer primarily operates. Industry sectors are based on NAICS "supersectors" used by the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program of the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Within NC Tower, the Retail Trade sector, Educational Services sector, and Health Care and Social Assistance sector have been broken out of their BLS-designated supersector. Numbers of students working for employers with an unknown industrial sector are not reported.

    Because an individual may work for more than one employer during a given four-quarter period, employment outcomes data may not be equal to the sum of its industry-level parts. For example, if a graduate works several months at a retail clothing store before beginning employment in a local school during the first year after their graduation, that student will be counted once for employment in Retail Trade, once for employment in Educational Services, and once and only once for total employment.
     

  • How does NC TOWER calculate median wages after graduation?

    Median wage data reflect the 50th percentile annual wage of graduates from selected programs who were employed in "covered employment" in North Carolina a given number of years after their graduation.

    An individual's annual wage is determined by examining quarterly unemployment insurance wage records for that individual in the four quarters representing a given number of years after the individual's graduation. For instance, if a student graduated in May of 2006 (i.e., Q2 2006), that student's annual wage one year after graduation will be determined by the sum of the student's quarterly wages in the next four quarters (i.e., Q3 2006, Q4 2006, Q1 2007, Q2 2007). Students who were not employed in North Carolina covered employment (i.e., had annual wages of $0) for a given year are not included in the percentile wage values.

    Because an individual may work for more than one employer during a given four-quarter period, median wages in individual sectors are likely to be lower than the overall median wage. For example, if a student earns $4,000 during three months working at a retail clothing store before earning $20,000 while working in a local school for the remainder of the first year after the student's graduation, that student will have an annual wage of $4,000 in Retail Trade, an annual wage of $20,000 in Educational Services, and an annual wage of $24,000 for total employment. This student will therefore "pull down" the median annual wage in Retail Trade and Educational Services because the student's wages in that sector do not represent a full year of work.

  • What does it mean that outcome data is suppressed?

    Even though all NC TOWER data are reported in aggregated form, some numbers are withheld as needed to prevent disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII).