Two-thirds of college students attending a four-year college or university that was their first choice say they are satisfied with their college experience. But that satisfaction drops to half for students at an institution that was their second choice, and to just one in three for students enrolled at their third choice.

These findings come from the 2018 National Student Satisfaction and Priorities Report, based on an analysis of more than 600,000 students at nearly 900 colleges and universities. The report examines results from undergraduate students, graduate students, adult learners, and online learners at four-year and two-year institutions. The report is published by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, the leading provider of higher education enrollment, student success, and fundraising solutions.

“In an era of rising costs when some students question the value of a college education, student satisfaction becomes increasingly important,” said Julie Bryant, associate vice president at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. “In particular, this report illustrates the need to engage students who enrolled at a college that was not their first choice and to provide reasons to students to show how the institution is still a good fit for them.”

The analysis also revealed significant differences in college student satisfaction among different populations of students and different types of institutions:

  • Students at four-year private and public institutions had the lowest overall satisfaction, with 56 percent saying they were satisfied with their college experience. Online learners had the highest satisfaction at 73 percent.
  • Asian students expressed the lowest levels of satisfaction across all institution types compared to other ethnic groups. African American students at four-year institutions also had much lower levels of satisfaction than Caucasian or Hispanic students.
  • Male students were consistently less satisfied than female students at four-year institutions and community colleges.

“Previous studies have documented the link between student satisfaction and individual student retention as well as institutional graduation rates,” Bryant shared. “Institutions that want to make a significant impact on their student success efforts can use these types of data to identify specific initiatives for particular demographic populations.”

The data in the report come from the RNL Satisfaction-Priorities Surveys, which provide colleges and universities with actionable, prioritized data for strategic institutional planning, student retention and completion, re-accreditation, and student recruitment and marketing.

To read the full report, visit http://www.RuffaloNL.com/benchmark

About Ruffalo Noel Levitz

Ruffalo Noel Levitz is the leading provider of higher education enrollment, student success, and fundraising solutions. More than 1,900 colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations rely on RNL for advanced analytics, personalized engagement, and industry-leading insights to achieve their missions. The firm is focused on the entire lifecycle of enrollment and fundraising, assuring students find the right college or university, graduate on time, secure their first job in their chosen field, and give back to support the next generation. Ruffalo Noel Levitz conferences, research reports, papers, and articles help clients stay on top of current trends. Learn more at http://www.RuffaloNL.com.

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