student data

Students: Use our data to transform our college experience

A new survey released at EDUCAUSE reveals that students believe personal data use will transform higher education

It’s no secret that today’s college students are generally comfortable sharing personal information online and through social media. But they have expectations, too–a new survey reveals that students expect institutions to use their personal data to deliver enhanced learning experiences.

Overall, 82 percent of surveyed students said they believe the use of personal data and information will transform the college experience in 10 years.

The Ellucian survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, defines personal data and personal student information as any data a school manages about a student, from application to meal plan.

Ninety-three percent of students said they expect to only have to provide personal information to their institution once.

Seventy-seven percent of surveyed students said they believe institutions should use their personal data to improve their college experiences in various areas, including:

  • Academic: Graduation requirements (62 percent), advising (53 percent, and course selection and registration (59 percent)
  • Financial: Financial aid (61 percent), payment of tuition (58 percent), and job applications on campus (52 percent)
  • Career: Internship (61 percent) and external job interviews (53 percent)

But while students hope their institutions will use their personal data to improve their campus experiences, they are not as enthusiastic about schools using their personal data for non-academic or non-career related experiences.

Students are willing to share a lot, as it turns out. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed shared personal accomplishments and 53 percent shared future dreams and goals on their college applications, in addition to sharing grades and test scores.

Twenty-three percent even said they would provide their least favorite childhood photos if it improved their chances of getting admitted to an institution.

When surveyed students had to identify an industry that would best be able to use their personal data to improve their experience, 42 percent chose a college or a university, 23 percent chose a doctor’s office, and 12 percent chose a financial company.

Just 1 in 4 students said they believe mobile apps know as much about them as their schools.

Laura Ascione