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New Report on Student Perceptions of College Worth

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Gallup and Purdue University released their 2015 report aimed at exploring the questions as to whether U.S. colleges and universities provide students with “opportunities and experiences” that are at least equal to the increase in college fees and whether students “graduate well-equipped to find good jobs and prosper financially” and “lead health, fulfilling lives.” This report was developed by Gallup and Purdue University in 2014 to allow students to evaluate their higher education experiences.

Some major findings:

  • 50% of respondents strongly agreed and 77% agreed or strongly agreed that their college education was worth the cost. For public institutions, the respective figures were 52% and 78%.
  • The five biggest factors that increased a student’s odds of agreeing that higher education was worth the cost were: caring professors (support), mentor(s) (support), at least one professor who made the student “excited about learning” (support), a project that took one or more semesters to complete (experiential learning), and a high level of activity in extracurricular activities and organizations (experiential learning).
  • There was an inverse relationship between student debt and whether graduates felt college was worth the cost. For graduates with no outstanding loans, 78% agreed or strongly agreed that college was worth the cost and 8% disagreed or strongly disagreed that college was worth the cost. For those with more than $50,000 in outstanding loans, the respective figures were 40% and 36%.
  • Controlling for graduates’ personality types, the study revealed that a supportive environment and experiential learning increased the odds of graduates’ being “engaged” at work following their studies. The two biggest factors were a mentorship (support) or an internship/job in which classroom learning could be applied in the workplace (experiential).

A copy of the report can be downloaded from the Gallup.com website.