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Attitudes towards Higher Education - US - December 2015

Published By :

Mintel

Published Date : Dec 2015

Category :

Lifestyle

No. of Pages : N/A

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.

Table of Content

Overview

What you need to know
Definition

Executive Summary

Figure 1: Snapshot of student fall enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, 2015*
The issues
Prospective students looking for faster, cheaper ways to a degree
The necessity of a degree may be in question
Figure 2: The value of a college degree, September 2015
Cost of college and student debt continues to draw scrutiny, concern
Figure 3: Attitudes towards educational loans, September2015
Parents expect children to finish in four years, average time to degree slightly more than four years
Figure 4: Parents’ expectations for kids graduating in four years or less, September 2015
The opportunities
Alternative routes to an education are gaining acceptance
Improving four-year graduation rates will please parents, students alike
Education viewed as a way to improve career prospects, increase earning potential
Figure 5: Top six motivations for seeking a degree, September 2015
In addition to an education, students looking for an experience
Figure 6: The college experience, by current/future students and parents of future/current/former students, September 2015
Younger students may need guidance
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
Undergraduate Certificate Program
Graduate Certificate Program
Associate’s Degree Program
Bachelor’s Degree Program
Master’s Degree Program
Doctorate Degree Program
Types of institutions
Vocational College
Community Colleges and Junior Colleges
Colleges and universities
For-profit colleges and universities
Online colleges/universities

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
Market data
Consumer survey data
Consumer qualitative research
Abbreviations and terms
Abbreviations
Terms

Appendix – 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

Appendix – 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

List of Table

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