Only half of current college students (55 percent) say they believe the education they’re receiving is worth their tuition, even after improvements in COVID prevention and protocols have made in-person learning increasingly possible over the past year, according to a new study.
The new research from Qualtrics also reveals a disconnect between students and administrators when it comes to how happy students are with the social aspects of college. Seventy-eight percent of administrators say students are satisfied with their social experience, while just 58 percent of students say they are.
More than 1 million fewer students are enrolled in U.S. colleges this school year than in 2019–an ongoing enrollment crisis that is forcing institutions to invest in ensuring students feel included, listened to and understood.
Students who say they feel their institutions understand what’s important to them report higher levels of satisfaction with their school. Students who feel understood have 41 percentage point higher (89 percent vs 48 percent) levels of satisfaction with their academic experience as well as 24 percentage point higher (67 percent vs. 43 percent) levels of satisfaction with their social experience.
A fulfilling social life, which involves feelings of inclusion and well-being, is key to students’ overall experience. Only 61 percent of students are satisfied with their social life, and just 59 percent say they feel connected to peers at their institution.
Students who say their institution understands what’s important to them also report feeling cared about by school staff, faculty and leaders at much higher rates. Among students who do say their school understands them, 83 percent agree school leaders care about them. But among students who said their school does not understand what’s important to them, just 37 percent agree leaders care.
“To deliver the best possible experience for students, higher ed leaders must not only provide regular opportunities for feedback across channels, but also show they’re listening and actually using that feedback to make tangible improvements across the student journey—institutionally and individually,” said Omar Garriott, global head of education at Qualtrics. “Our research shows that students’ satisfaction is directly tied to feeling like they belong and that their voice is being heard. Opportunities abound for schools to continue to prioritize student experience and expand upon sentiment programs put in place during the pandemic.”
Students who say their institution understands what’s important to them report higher levels of satisfaction:
|Students who say their institution understands what’s important to them||Students who say their institution does not understand what’s important to them|
|Agree that they have opportunities to give feedback.||89%||39%|
|Agree that their voice is heard when they give feedback.||68%||16%|
|Are satisfied with their academic experience.||89%||48%|
|Are satisfied with their social experience.||67%||43%|
|Are satisfied with their overall experience.||87%||45%|
Material from a press release was used in this report.
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