Giving Banner
$("#navigation").navobile({
  cta: "#show-navobile",
  changeDOM: true
})
      

Is College Worth It?

A Survey of St. Norbert College Alumni

In the past few years, the national conversation has turned to both the value, not to say the return-on-investment, of a college education. At St. Norbert, we decided that we wanted a concrete answer to that question – at least from the perspective of our own graduates.

Our survey targeted those of our alumni who graduated between 1983 and 1998 – which is to say, those who have been out long enough to have become established in careers, and who are likely still pursuing those careers.

Respondents

  • 419 alumni (15% of sample) responded to the survey
  • 61% were female
  • 38% were male
  • 57% graduated 1990-1999
  • 43% graduated before 1990
  • Among the largest number of majors represented among the respondents were: Business 25%; Communication 12%; Accounting 8%; Education 7%
  • 85% of respondents described themselves as middle class (37%) or upper middle class (48%)
  • 91% were currently employed
  • 82% said their position requires a college degree
  • 38% described their occupational field as Management, business, or financial; 34% as Education, legal, community

Responses 

Important roles for colleges and universities?

  • 85% rated Teaching students to think critically as “Very Important.” 
  • 71% rated Providing broad-based education as “Very Important.” 
  • 69% rated Providing skills/knowledge valuable in working world as “Very Important.”

Single most important reason to get an education beyond high school? (Top choices) 

  • 36% Learn to think critically
  • 32% Get a good job
  • 27% Become a well-rounded person

Importance of college degree for future financial security?

  • 54% Very important
  • 31% Extremely important

Amount of money borrowed to finance SNC education?

  • 23% None
  • 18% <$10,000
  • 29% $10,000-$19,999
  • 16% $20,000-$19,999
  • 15% $30,000+

Time needed for self (and partner/spouse) to repay student loans?

  • 11% < 3 years
  • 27% 3-5 years
  • 44% 6-10 years
  • 18% >10 years

Extent to which paying back student loans affected ... ? (percent reporting “Great Extent”)

  • 74% delay in getting married
  • 70% delay in beginning family
  • 65% choice of career 

Usefulness of undergraduate education in helping to ... ? (percent reporting “Great Extent”)

  • 73% increase knowledge and intellectual growth
  • 72% mature as a person
  • 57% understand and relate well to others
  • 48% prepare for job/career
  • 43% shape beliefs and values
  • 37% grow spiritually/morally

Rating of the job that the higher education system does in providing VALUE for money spent:

  • Excellent 7%
  • Very Good 25%
  • Good 35%
  • Fair 20%
  • Poor 8% 
  • Unsure 5%

Rating of the job SNC does in providing VALUE for money spent:

  • Excellent 22%
  • Very Good 31%
  • Good 26%
  • Fair 13%
  • Poor 1%
  • Unsure 8%


Nov. 13, 2014