College for America Blog

Students give College for America high marks in independent survey


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Posted In: Academics, CFA News, Students

Apr • 21 • 2015

“There’s not a better educational value on planet Earth if a person is willing to work hard.” – survey respondent

This past summer, the Gates Foundation hired nonprofit researchers to survey every student and graduate of College for America to understand the student’s perspective of this degree program.

The survey was conducted by Georgia Institute of Technology and WestEd for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information about the survey, contact Joe McCrary at WestEd at 470-225-4955. WestEd is a national not-for-profit agency that works to ensure high-quality education and healthy development from cradle through career. Visit WestEd online at www.WestEd.org.

Below is a summary of key data points from the students who responded (n=172 for the survey; varies slightly by question).

HOW DO STUDENTS & GRADUATES FEEL ABOUT COLLEGE FOR AMERICA OVERALL?

I would recommend CfA to my friends, family, and/or coworkers.

  • 99% AGREE
  • 1% DISAGREE

Do you believe the CfA program is a good value?

  • 100% YES
  • 0% NO

HOW DO STUDENTS & GRADS RATE THE ACADEMICS & SUPPORT?

Quality of interaction with CfA Advisors:

  • 97% VERY GOOD OR GOOD
  • 3% FAIR
  • 0% POOR

Quality of interactions with CfA Reviewers:

  • 95% VERY GOOD OR GOOD
  • 5% FAIR
  • 0% POOR

HOW DO STUDENTS & GRADS ASSESS WHAT THEY HAVE LEARNED?

CfA projects have increased my skills related to my current job(s).

  • 85% AGREE
  • 14% DISAGREE

The skills I learned in my CfA program will help me with my future employment goals.

  • 99% AGREE
  • 1% DISAGREE

WHAT TYPE OF LEARNING HAVE THEY FOCUSED ON AT CFA?

Memorizing course material

  • 15% VERY MUCH OR QUITE A BIT
  • 43% SOME
  • 43% VERY LITTLE OR NONE

Applying facts, theories or methods to practical problems or new solutions

  • 75% VERY MUCH OR QUITE A BIT
  • 23% SOME
  • 1% VERY LITTLE OR NONE

WHO ARE CFA STUDENTS?

Are you employed full time or part time?

  • 98% EMPLOYED
  • 84% EMPLOYED FULL-TIME
  • 14% EMPLOYED PART-TIME
  • 2% NOT EMPLOYED

Have you previously had taken any college courses in a traditional setting?

  • 77% HAVE PREVIOUSLY HAD SOME COLLEGE IN A TRADITIONAL SETTING
  • 23% HAVE NOT

Had you previously taken an online course?

  • 59% HAVE NEVER TAKEN AN ONLINE COURSE
  • 41% HAD TAKEN AN ONLINE COURSE

What was the highest level of education your mother attained?

  • 20% COLLEGE DEGREE
  • 3% ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE
  • 10% BACHELOR’S DEGREE
  • 6% MASTER’S DEGREE
  • 1% DOCTORATE DEGREE
  • 22% SOME COLLEGE
  • 43% HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
  • 10% SOME HIGH SCHOOL
  • 5% GED OR EQUIVALENT

What was the highest level of education your father attained?

  • 24% COLLEGE DEGREE
  • 2% ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE
  • 15% BACHELOR’S DEGREE
  • 3% MASTER’S DEGREE
  • 2% PROFESSIONAL DEGREE BEYOND A BACHELOR’S (IE, MD, JD)
  • 2% DOCTORATE DEGREE
  • 15% SOME COLLEGE
  • 42% HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
  • 14% SOME HIGH SCHOOL
  • 5% GED OR EQUIVALENT

What is your gender?

  • 73% WOMEN
  • 27% MEN

With what race/ethnicity do you most identify?

  • 71% WHITE
  • 29% AFRICAN AMERICAN, HISPANIC, OR OTHER ETHNICITY

What is your age?

Median age: 41 years old

  • 5% AGE 18-24
  • 14% 25-34
  • 34% AGE 35-44
  • 36% AGE 45-54
  • 11% AGE 55 AND UP

PAYING FOR THE DEGREE

  • 57% EXPECT TO ACCUMULATE ZERO DEBT TO EARN THEIR DEGREE FROM CFA
  • 32% EXPECT TO ACCUMULATE LESS THAN $5,000 DEBT TO EARN THEIR DEGREE FROM CFA
  • 7% EXPECT TO ACCUMULATE $5,000-9,999 DEBT TO EARN THEIR DEGREE FROM CFA
  • 4% EXPECT TO ACCUMULATE $10,000-14,999 DEBT TO EARN THEIR DEGREE FROM CFA
  • 0% EXPECT TO ACCUMULATE MORE THAN $15,000 IN DEBT TO EARN THEIR DEGREE FROM CFA

SAMPLE OF STUDENT RESPONSES TO OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS

“There’s not a better educational value on planet Earth if a person is willing to work hard.”

“I get to go to a college that I ENJOY…. for about $200 a month… That’s AMAZING.”

“I feel that the education I am getting is superior to individual classes taken in person as these [College for America projects] relate to the real world and build problem solving skills.”

“This program offers a wide variety of topics and helps one to solve problems, analyze data and write effectively—all of which can help one in his or her job. The program will enhance the work performance of the employee. It’s a win-win situation.”

“Employees want to know that their efforts help their employer reach stated goals and that they are an integral part of the company’s success. Returning to school to continue learning new ideas and methods is just as beneficial to the employer as it is to the employee.”