Gallup-Indiana Survey Results Show Hoosier Graduates Believe College is Worth It

More than 80 percent of graduates from 13 Indiana public and private colleges say their education was worth the cost, according to the results of the first Gallup-Indiana Graduate Satisfaction Survey released today by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

With funding support from USA Funds, Gallup and the Commission, the survey reached out to more than 22,000 college graduates from the Indiana colleges that volunteered to participate in the pilot year of this first-in-the-nation, statewide look at alumni satisfaction.

“I want to commend the 13 trailblazing colleges that stepped up to be the first Gallup-Indiana Survey participants,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said.  “For these campuses and the Commission, the results provide insights we can use to improve the postsecondary experience for Hoosier students.”

The following 13 colleges participated for this pilot survey: Ball State University, Butler University, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Grace College, Indiana University East, Indiana University Kokomo, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Ivy Tech Community College, Manchester University, Marian University, Taylor University, Vincennes University and WGU Indiana.

The Gallup-Indiana Survey was inspired by the Gallup-Purdue Index. This partnership between Gallup and Purdue University surveyed more than 30,000 college graduates to measure the relationship between a college degree and long-term graduate well-being and workplace engagement.

Purdue University West Lafayette will share data from its Gallup-Purdue Index to include in the Commission’s new comprehensive measure of college value to be unveiled this fall, called the Indiana College Value Index.

See results for all participating colleges online here.

Statewide Results: Positive Findings

  • Worth the Investment/Debt: Overall, 81 percent of alumni surveyed agree that their higher education was worth the cost. For those with student loans, 76 percent agree college was worth it.
  • Greater Well-Being: Indiana’s college graduates report higher levels of well-being than those graduates surveyed nationally on all five elements measured: sense of purpose, social well-being, financial well-being, community well-being and physical well-being.
  • More Fulfilling Work: Indiana’s college graduates report work fulfillment at the national average for college graduates. Nearly half (48 percent) of Indiana alumni surveyed indicated they are deeply interested in the work they do.

Statewide Results: Opportunities for Improvement

  • Well Prepared for Life: Just 37 percent of surveyed graduates strongly agree they were well prepared for life outside of college.
  • Support and Guidance to Graduate: Less than half (47 percent) of alumni say they received support outside the classroom to help them graduate.
  • Work Experience and Job Placement: One-third (33 percent) of students who had a job or internship during college reported that a work or internship experience was a requirement for their degree program. Less than half (45 percent) of students who had a job or internship during college received help securing an internship or job during college, and only 15 percent reported their college helped them secure their first job after graduation.
  • Degree-Career Alignment: Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of graduates surveyed indicated their undergraduate degree was not at all related to their current work.

It is important to note that school results differ by the age and/or graduation year of respondents. For example, older alumni are more likely to report high well-being and work engagement, and younger alumni are more likely to have had the six specific supports and opportunities surveyed, such as an internship.

The first Gallup-Indiana survey was conducted in partnership with USA Funds, which supplied a $500,000 grant to offer 50 percent discounts for all participating public institutions. Additionally, the Commission offered a 10 percent discount for participating public colleges and Gallup offered a 10 percent for all participating colleges.

“This kind of information about the college experiences and outcomes of Indiana graduates is invaluable for prospective students and their families who are planning for college, as well as for policymakers and educators who are determining higher education policy and programming,” said Carol D’Amico, USA Funds executive vice president, National Engagement and Philanthropy. “USA Funds is delighted to support these more robust measures of college value to promote student success in college and career.”

These 2016 Gallup-Indiana Survey results will be a baseline for future surveys and an important part of Indiana’s College Value Index released this fall. The index is a first-in-the-nation, comprehensive measure of higher education value that brings together the Commission’s existing data on college readiness, college completion, student debt, employment, average earnings and this qualitative data on graduate satisfaction.

The Indiana College Value Index was introduced in the Commission’s new strategic plan—Reaching Higher, Delivering Value—as the tool for measuring Indiana’s progress toward meeting its higher education goals. The index will measure Indiana colleges’ progress in three areas: Completion, Competency and Career.

The Gallup-Indiana Survey will provide critical information to support all three areas of the Indiana College Value Index. For that reason, the Commission will continue to encourage Indiana colleges to participate in this biennial survey.

Read all of the Commission’s reports as well as its Reaching Higher, Delivering Value strategic plan at www.che.in.gov.

 

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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