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Attitudes towards Higher Education - US - December 2015

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Figure 1: Snapshot of student fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, 2015*
The issues
Figure 2: The value of a college degree, September 2015
Figure 3: Attitudes towards educational loans, September2015
Figure 4: Parents’ expectations for kids graduating in four years or less, September 2015
The opportunities
Figure 5: Top six motivations for seeking a degree, September 2015
Figure 6: The college experience, by current/future students and parents of future/current/former students, September 2015
Figure 7: Utility of chosen degree, by age, September 2015
What it means
THE MARKET
What you need to know
Enrollment on the rise in coming decade
Students aged 25+ have large presence on campus
Unemployment trending downward, job market still competitive
Parents and students concerned about cost
Size of the student body
Enrollment projected to increase steadily in coming decade
Figure 8: Total fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, 1970-2024* (projected)
Women outnumber men in higher education
Figure 9: Share of total fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by gender, 1970-2024* (projected)
State of economy influences demographics of student body
Figure 10: Share of total fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by age groups, 1970-2024* (projected)
Modern college students significantly more diverse
Figure 11: Share of total fall enrollment of US residents in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by race/Hispanic origin, 1976-2024*
(projected)
Market factors
Despite declining unemployment, job market remains competitive
Figure 12: Labor-force status of people aged 16+, annual averages, 2004-15*
Competition from abroad
Cost continues to be a concern
Figure 13: Attitudes towards educational loans, September2015
Sexual assault on campuses makes headlines, safety is a concern
Figure 14: “1 is 2 many,” public service announcement, 2014
KEY PLAYERS
What you need to know
Prospective students have a wide selection of programs, institutions
Consumer trends shake up the college experience
Types of education programs and institutions
Higher education programs
Types of institutions
Education and consumer trends
Boot camps offer education in a fraction of the time
Figure 15: “Alumni Profile: Mai,” online video, 2015
Passion for life-long learning gives rise to services that allow consumers to “Dabble”
Figure 16: “About CourseHorse,” online video, 2014
Flexibility of skills-based education may be more appealing than career-oriented education
Better careers, learning skills, higher salaries motivate degree seekers
College campuses see shift in gender – Women now outnumber men
College admissions counsellors help students enter top schools
Smaller, and niche institutions struggle with declining enrollment
THE CONSUMER
What you need to know
Career and earning potential biggest drivers for education
Traditional methods of comparing colleges still used
Cost and location are the most influential factors
Majority of parents “very involved” in college selection
The value of a college degree increasingly in question
Many students base major on passions
Diversity on campus appeals to prospective students
Motivations for seeking a degree
Education viewed as way to improve career, increase earning potential
Figure 17: Motivations for seeking a degree, September 2015
18-24s most motivated to go to school
Figure 18: Motivations for seeking a degree – select responses, by age, September 2015
Resources used to compare colleges
Online research and campus tours are top ways to evaluate schools
Figure 19: Resources used to compare colleges, September 2015
Modern students use techie and traditional methods to compare colleges
Figure 20: Resources used to compare colleges, by current/prospective students and former students, September 2015
Parents often researching as much as – or more than – their children
Figure 21: Resources used to compare colleges, by parents of future/current/former students, September 2015
Youngest applicants may be won with an inside look at life on campus
Figure 22: Resources used to compare colleges – Select responses, by age, September 2015
Spotlighting diversity ensures all prospects feel welcome, represented
Figure 23: Resources used to compare colleges – select responses, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2015
Factors influencing college selection
Unsurprisingly, cost and location have strongest impact on selection
Figure 24: Factors that influence college selection, September 2015
Current/future students take more factors into consideration
Figure 25: Factors that influence college selection, current/prospective students vs parents of future/current/former students, September 2015
Women appear more selective than men
Figure 26: Factors that influence college selection – select responses, by gender, September 2015
Experience increasingly factors into college selection
Figure 27: Factors that influence college selection – select responses, by age, September 2015
College-minded Black consumers most price sensitive
Figure 28: Factors that influence college selection – select responses, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2015
Other influences on college selection
Offer a chance to break away
Size matters but preferences differ from student to student
Online degrees often seen as lower quality
Figure 29: Opinions impacting college selection, by current/prospective students and parents of future/current/former students, September
2015
Parents’ involvement and expectations
Eight in 10 parents “very involved” in college selection
Figure 30: Parents’ involvement in college selection, by child’s student status, September 2015
Parents want children to stay on track
Figure 31: Parents’ expectations for child earning a degree in four years or less, by child’s student status, September 2015
The value of a college degree
Parents, students agree – A college degree is something to value
Figure 32: The value of a college degree, by current/future students and parents of future/current/former students, September 2015
Millennials may double down on education for a competitive edge
Figure 33: The value of a college degree, by generation, September 2015
Least educated consumers provide opportunity for quick, affordable degrees
Figure 34: The value of a college degree, by education, September 2015
Utility of chosen degree
Rational or risky? Majority of students base major on passions
Figure 35: Utility of chosen degree, current students vs college graduates, September 2015
Hispanic students may need more guidance
Figure 36: Utility of chosen degree, by Hispanic origin, September 2015
Attitudes toward educational loans
Consumers skeptical of lenders
Figure 37: Attitudes toward educational loans, September2015
Youngest respondents especially skeptical of lenders
Figure 38: Attitudes toward educational loans, by generation, September2015
The college experience
Prospective students drawn by diverse student body
Figure 39: The college experience, by current/future students and parents of future/current/former students, September 2015
Women more concerned with internships, men want to let loose
Figure 40: The college experience, by gender, September 2015
Hispanics seek more of the “college experience”
Figure 41: The college experience, by Hispanic origin, September 2015
APPENDIX
Data sources and abbreviations
Data sources
Abbreviations and terms
The market
Figure 42: Total fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by share of gender, 1970-2024* (projected)
Figure 43: Share of total fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by age groups, 1970-2024* (projected)
Figure 44: College-related events expected in the next 12 months, by gender, generation, race/Hispanic origin, parent status, April 2014-June
2015
Figure 45: Gender, generation, and race/Hispanic origin, by college-related events expected in the next 12 months plus index, April 2014-June
2015
The consumer
Correspondence analysis methodology
Figure 46: Correspondence Analysis – Factors that influence college selection, by generation, September 2015
Figure 47: Factors that influence college selection, by generation, September 2015
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
US Research Methodology
Consumer research
Social Media Research
Trade research
Statistical Forecasting

Attitudes towards Higher Education - US - December 2015

"A college degree is still largely viewed as a necessity for a successful career and as a source of greater job security. However, the cost, lack of flexibility, and lengthy time commitment have some adults looking for alternatives to a traditional education."

- Lauren Bonetto, Lifestyles & Leisure Analyst

This report looks at the following issues:

Prospective students looking for faster, cheaper ways to a degree
The necessity of a degree may be in question
Cost of college and student debt continues to draw scrutiny, concern
Parents expect children to finish in four years, average time to degree slightly more than four years


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