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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Editorial: UC survey

The UC Office of the President (UCOP) sent out a press release on Monday boasting that 82 percent of current UC students are satisfied with their college education, despite the decline in state funding and rise in tuition costs.

The number comes from the 2012 UC Undergraduate Experience Survey. We were surprised, and upon further examination, found the figure to be highly misleading.

About 36 percent, or 63,500 students, of the UC undergraduate population participated in the survey, which asked a variety of questions, including level of overall satisfaction. The 82 percent figure includes students who selected “very satisfied,” “satisfied” and “somewhat satisfied.”

In our opinion, “satisfied” is quite different from “somewhat satisfied,” and not that different from “somewhat unsatisfied.” And if we took out the 30 percent of students who marked “somewhat satisfied,” we are left with an actual 52 percent of students who are satisfied with their educations.

This means about half of the UC undergraduate population feel their education is lacking, and this should be distressing to the folks at UCOP.

In fact, UCOP should be distressed over many of the study’s findings, particularly related to finances.

Student satisfaction with their education for the price they are paying is down to 60 percent from 71 percent in 2006. Moreover, 21 percent of students marked “very dissatisfied” or “dissatisfied” — that’s 11,664 students who don’t feel they are getting the education they are paying for.

Nearly 63 percent of surveyed students said they were “somewhat concerned” to “very concerned” about their accumulated debt. Seventy-one percent reported concern about how to pay for their education, while only 4 percent said expenses were not a problem.

We hope that UCOP fully understands the magnitude of their findings and will take concrete actions in response to the survey results, despite brushing details aside in the name of good PR.

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