The “new normal” of the economic climate has brought about the rise of the prudent consumer who is frugal, cautious, and seeks proof of value. With the national unemployment rate hovering at its highest level in recent memory, students desire assurances that they’ll be able to graduate in a timely manner, that they’ll gain the career skills they need, and that well-paying jobs await them upon graduation. And many students are “buying down” to a less expensive college option or enrolling at multiple institutions to complete some of their coursework less expensively.
- 47% of Americans say the main purpose of college should be to acquire specific skills and knowledge that can be used in the workplace, while 39% say it should be to help an individual grow personally and intellectually. (Pew Research Center)
- 55% of hiring decision-makers believe most students would be better served by a broad-based education that helps them choose their best career path, while 45% prefer an education that specifically prepares them for the workplace. (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools)
- The median first job salary for college graduates from the Classes of 2006 through 2010 was $30,000 ($27,000 for those entering the workforce in 2009 and 2010), with no differential according to whether their degree came from a public or private nonprofit college; 40% took a first job that did not require a college degree. (Heldrich Center for Workforce Development)
- The most common response of first-year students in 2010 when asked what reasons were very important for going to college was “to be able to get a better job,” cited by 84.7%; “to get training for a specific career” was cited by 77.6%. (CIRP)
- “This school’s graduates get good jobs” was cited by 53.3% of first-year students in 2010 as a reason for choosing their college, second only to “this college has a very good academic reputation” at 62%. (CIRP)
- Only 57% of first-year students were satisfied with the relevance of their coursework to everyday life. (CIRP)
- The percentage of first-year students at four-year public institutions who returned for their second year (73.9%) surpassed the percentage of four-year private nonprofit students (72.4%) for the first time in 2010. (ACT)
- 7.7% of all college students attended more than one institution in 2010-11. (National Student Clearinghouse)
- Enrollment in community colleges increased 15% from Fall 2008 to Fall 2010. (American Association of Community Colleges)
- While enrollment growth at public institutions (3.6%) and private nonprofit institutions (3.4%) was roughly equal between Fall 2005 and Fall 2007, between Fall 2007 and Fall 2009 public growth was 9.8% while private nonprofit growth was only 5.4%. (National Center for Education Statistics)
- The average time it takes full-time students to complete a bachelor’s degree is 4.7 years. (Complete College America)
- 64.6% of students who began at a four-year private nonprofit institution (59.5% at four-year publics) in 2003 earned a bachelor’s degree within six years, and 57% earned it at that same institution (compared to 51.5% at four-year publics). (National Center for Education Statistics)
Most colleges and universities offer educational experiences that do indeed provide beneficial outcomes for graduates. Those institutions that can bring their successful outcomes to life through stories as well as provide facts and figures to support their claims will have the edge as they prove the value and relevance of the education they provide.
Thoughts? Let us know on the blog.
Part of: Trends 2012