Gallup and Lumina Foundation recently released their State of Higher Education 2023 report, an annual survey of currently enrolled students and unenrolled U.S. adults that provides a comprehensive look at key trends and offers insight into the higher education landscape.
Drawing on extensive research and data, the report sheds light on issues like student engagement, career preparation, overall student satisfaction and more.
Student engagement is a critical factor when predicting educational outcomes and overall well-being. Gallup’s report revealed that only a minority of students (38%) feel actively engaged in their studies while a larger proportion (50%) experience some degree of disengagement. Engaged students tend to have higher GPAs, are more likely to be involved in extracurricular activities, and have a greater sense of purpose and belonging within their institutions.
The Gallup report also suggests that a significant percentage of college students feel underprepared for the workforce. Only 34% of students strongly agree that their college education adequately prepared them for a job, while 16% strongly disagree. This finding emphasizes the need for educational institutions to enhance career-oriented programs and strengthen connections with employers to bridge the skills gap.
Well-being and Life Satisfaction
The importance of holistic development and well-being in higher education was also covered in the report. It reveals a correlation between student well-being and engagement, indicating that students who feel supported and have positive relationships with faculty and peers are more likely to thrive academically and enjoy a higher quality of life. However, it highlights a decline in overall well-being among students, citing factors such as financial stress, mental health concerns, and a lack of social support systems.
Student Diversity and Inclusion
The report underscores the significance of diversity and inclusion on campuses. It notes that students who feel included and have positive interactions with diverse peers and faculty members are more engaged and have better outcomes. However, the findings reveal persistent disparities in student experiences based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background, suggesting the need for ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education institutions.
Alumni Outcomes and Satisfaction
The Gallup report also explores alumni perceptions of their educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. It finds that alumni who strongly agree that their college prepared them well for life beyond graduation are more likely to thrive in their careers and have higher levels of overall life satisfaction. Moreover, alumni who experienced strong mentorship and had internships or job experiences during college reported greater success in the workforce.
Gallup’s report revealed that only a minority of students (38%) feel actively engaged in their studies while a larger proportion (50%) experience some degree of disengagement.
The Gallup State of Higher Education 2023 provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by those of us who working in the enrollment management industry. It highlights the need for institutions to focus on student engagement, career preparation, well-being, diversity, and alumni outcomes. By addressing these areas, colleges and universities can create environments that foster academic success, personal growth, and overall satisfaction for their students.
Overall, higher education is in a state of flux, as students and institutions adapt to the changing needs and expectations of society. As higher education staff and administrators, it is our responsibility to stay informed of these changes and to work together to find innovative solutions that will help students succeed in their educational and professional pursuits.
By Cat Hollands, Client Trainer, Capture Higher Ed