The more affluent students are, the more they tend to party, according to preliminary results from a UC-wide undergraduate survey.
The survey, “Student Experience in the Research University in the 21st Century” (SERU21), indicated that the higher a student’s family’s income, the more time the student will spend on social activities and the more the student is satisfied with the overall UC experience. Well-off students who responded to the survey also tended to be more satisfied with their college. Low-income students, the survey suggests, judge their collegiate experience by how well they attain their career goals.
“This shows that partying is a class-related activity,” UC Santa Barbara sociology Professor Richard Flacks told UC Berkeley’s Daily Californian. “As the university has become more inclusive, social class is now an internal issue.”
Flacks was one of the principal investigators for the survey. He said it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the survey because researchers are just beginning to analyze its data.
“We don’t have findings yet, but we will be trying to make some reports soon,” Flacks said. “A lot of work needs to be done in cleaning the data in order to prevent any errors.”
UC faculty members and research professionals conducted the survey last spring to investigate and understand how students feel about their undergraduate experience. Approximately 7,000 UCSB students completed the survey, out of 17,000 total participants from all UC campuses. The survey asked students questions about their involvement in the academic, intellectual, cultural, social, civic and personal aspects of student life.
The survey’s results will help the UC determine the best admissions policy for each campus and help faculty and staff to understand student goals and how students use and evaluate campus services. Findings will create a new resource to promote scholarly research and reflection in the field of policy development.
“We hope it will provide information to understand the different characters and quality of students, help inform decision-making and better judgement in providing a higher education for our UC students, and help us to offer students better service,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young said. “We want to know how students are experiencing things both educationally and outside the classroom.”
The survey was conducted over the Internet from April 24 through May 22.
UC President Richard Atkinson invited 60,000 UC students via e-mail to participate in the survey and placed their names in a lottery with a $2,002 reward as an incentive for higher participation rates.
“Unfortunately, large numbers of people did not get the e-mails or could not receive it, which was a large part of what we were trying to find out,” Flacks said. “We figured that an online survey would be less expensive and more fun, rather than a mail-in or phone survey.”
The survey was fairly accurate, but first-year students were more responsive because dorms have easier Internet access and freshmen have more current e-mail addresses, Flacks said.
Survey questions included “How important is it that faculty knows your name?”, “How do you choose your classes?” and “How important is it that you can do your own creative work?”
“We want to know how students use their time and what their priorities are in the UC system,” Flacks said. “Students have different priorities. We can compare people on how they define goals, how it changes and how they feel they are getting their goals accomplished.”
The committee is planning on conducting a second survey this spring.