1979: Inflation, College, and Making Money: Financial Concerns of Incoming Freshmen

Posted by Lesley McBain on May 19th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Research, Surveys | Comments Off

Three Mile Island

Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, 1979, credit United States Department of Energy public domain)


Jimmy Carter was still president. In Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady,” was elected the first female Prime Minister. The dictator Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia was overthrown by Vietnam-backed insurgents. Nicaraguan President General Somoza resigned and fled to Miami en route to exile in Paraguay, leaving Nicaragua in the control of the opposing Sandinista movement. The Shah of Iran’s government was overthrown by supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini; after fleeing Iran, the Shah was admitted to the U.S. for medical treatment. As a result, diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran deteriorated to the point that the U.S. Embassy was overrun by student militants and approximately 90 American hostages taken.

In the U.S., the state of Ohio agreed to compensate the families of those killed and injured in the Kent State University shootings. The worst nuclear power plant accident in U.S. history took place at Three Mile Island (PA) when a reactor partly melted down, though minimal radiation was released and subsequent studies showed minimal effects on those living and working in the area surrounding the plant. The U.S. economy began to experience a slowdown partly influenced by rising gas costs; inflation rose sharply as well, with an average rate of 11.22%.

Given the rate of inflation, the topic understandably weighed on respondents: 78.2% agreed either somewhat or strongly that “Inflation is our biggest domestic problem.” Of those, 36.6% answered “agree strongly.” The related topic of making money was also on students’ minds. An overwhelming majority (75.5%) stated attending college “to be able to get a better job” was “very important”; attending college “to be able to make more money” was also “very important” to 60.9% of respondents.

When asked about the personal importance of the goal “Being very well off financially,” 60.2% considered it either “essential” or “very important.” One out of five (21.9%)  respondents considered it “essential.”  With being very well off financially as a goal, it is unsurprising that 20.9% of students overall reported majoring in business; this was the most popular major by far, with engineering coming in second (11.4%) and health professions (10.5%) rounding out the top three majors. Of the respondents who said attending college in order to make more money was “very important,” 25.2% were business majors and 13.1% were engineering majors. Interestingly, 65% of business majors agreed either strongly or somewhat with the view “Wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes than they do now.”

To further understand the sources of financial support students received in their freshman year, the 1979 version of the TFS asked questions such as whether respondents had received more than $600 in financial assistance from their parents either the year before or in the survey year, equating to roughly over $2,000 in 2014 dollars. Of those who had, 59.8% responded that going to college “to be able to make more money” was “very important.” However, 62.9% of those who had not received more than $600 in financial assistance from their parents also considered it “very important.”

In addition to illuminating the financial concerns of students entering college in the late 1970s, these data provide historical context for today’s discussions on the purpose of a college education and institutions’ responsibilities in terms of educating students specifically for the labor market.

Did you know?: 62.5% of incoming freshmen in 1979 agreed either strongly or somewhat that “Grading in the high schools has become too easy.”

53.5% of freshmen in 1979 had not played a musical instrument in the past year.

When asked “Which of the following life patterns would you prefer ten to fifteen years from now?” about marriage, career, and family, 86.4% of those who chose being single also preferred not to have children.

1978: Sort-of Swinging Seventies? Incoming Freshmen's Attitudes on Sex, Living Together, and Divorce

Posted by Lesley McBain on May 12th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Research, Surveys, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Camp David 1978

Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter at Camp David, 1978 (credit: U.S. govt archives)

Jimmy Carter was still president; one of his signal accomplishments that year was the 13-day Camp David summit resulting in a historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The Blizzard of 1978 (Northeast Edition) paralyzed New England and the Northeast, killing approximately 100 people and injuring over 4,000 more; the other Blizzard of 1978 (Ohio Valley and Great Lakes Edition) paralyzed Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, parts of Wisconsin, and parts of Pennsylvania, killing over 70 people). In technology news, Sony introduced the first portable stereo: the Walkman. Top movies were The Deer Hunter, Midnight Express, and Coming Home. One of the biggest U.S. higher education news items was the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision, where the Supreme Court held that race could be considered as a factor in ensuring diversity in college admissions, but that student quotas were impermissible.

To shed light on incoming college students’ opinions of the rapidly changing world around them—only five years after Roe v. Wade (1973) made abortion legal across the U.S. and when only some states did not have no-fault divorce laws allowing divorce without proof of wrongdoing such as physical or psychological abuse or abandonment—the CIRP Freshman Survey asked a number of questions about attitudes toward sex, living together before marriage, and divorce. As can be seen by the results, young men and women often had different perspectives.

Respondents were split almost evenly overall on the question “If two people like each other, it’s all right for them to have sex even if they’ve known each other for only a very short time”; 47.2% agreed either strongly or somewhat, while 52.9 disagreed either strongly or somewhat. However, when disaggregated by gender, 24.9% of men agreed strongly versus only 8.2% of women; conversely, 38.4% of women disagreed strongly while 14.8% of men disagreed strongly. Part of what may have played a role in this split is the issue of contraception and abortion availability in 1978 (e.g., abortion services being unavailable for 26% of the women estimated to need them in 1978).

The same gender differences appeared across self-reported political views. For instance, 32.9% of males who identified as far right politically agreed strongly with the question as opposed to 13.1% of female students; on the opposite end of the political spectrum, 49.1% of males who identified as far left politically agreed strongly versus 22.4% of females who identified as far left. Strong disagreement by men ranged from 9.1% (liberal) to 22.1% (far right). Strong disagreement by women ranged from 25.1% (liberal) to 56.6% (conservative).

When asked their opinion of the statement “A couple should live together for some time before deciding to get married,” 43.8% of all incoming college students agreed either strongly or somewhat, though only 9.5% of that total agreed strongly; 56.2% disagreed either strongly or somewhat, with 24.9% of that total disagreeing strongly. A total of 49.9% of male students agreed somewhat or strongly; 38.2% of female students agreed somewhat or strongly.

Gender differences, unsurprisingly, also were prominent in students’ agreement or disagreement with the statement “The activities of married women are best confined to the home and family.” 32.7% of male students overall agreed either somewhat or strongly with the statement; 28.2% disagreed strongly, and 39.1% (the most common answer) disagreed somewhat. By contrast, only 17.5% of female students agreed either somewhat or strongly with the statement; 61.5% of female students disagreed strongly, with another 21% disagreeing somewhat. Agreement or disagreement by gender with the view “Divorce laws should be liberalized” was less stark than the other views examined here. For instance, 50.6% of male students disagreed either strongly or somewhat versus 56% of female students. Only 13.1% of male students and 10.1% of female students answered “agree strongly.”

Overall, 46.6% of students agreed either strongly or somewhat that divorce laws should be liberalized. To set this in historical context, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the 1978 U.S. divorce rate continued along the upward trend it had been following since 1963. The divorce rate increased by 3.6% from 1977, with the estimated 1,130,000 divorces granted in 1978 representing a rate of 5.2 per 1,000 population.

This set of questions and their answers illustrates different worldviews of men and women students about various facets of relationships and sexuality in the changing culture of the late 1970s. While today’s generation may have coined the phrase “hookup culture,” incoming freshmen had pronounced opinions on the matter decades before today’s freshmen were even born.

Did You Know?: In 1978, 59.7% of incoming students agreed either somewhat or strongly that “A national health care plan is needed to cover everybody’s health care costs.”

27.1% of incoming students agreed either somewhat or strongly that “Colleges would be improved if organized sports were de-emphasized.”

67.6% of incoming students felt there was a very good chance they would find a job after graduation in the field in which they were trained in college.

1977: Baking Cakes and Using Robert's Rules of Order: Measuring Incoming Freshmen's Nonacademic Skills

Posted by Lesley McBain on May 5th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Credit: Star Wars fans at Mann’s Chinese Theatre, May 25, 1977, credit unknown

Jimmy Carter was elected U.S. president. Elvis Presley died. Star Wars (the original) premiered; Saturday Night Fever and its movie soundtrack highlighted the Age of Disco, though the Sex Pistols and The Clash released landmark punk albums in the same year. The neutron bomb was created, but a nuclear proliferation treaty curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons was signed by 15 countries including the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). South African Black anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko died after torture in South African police custody, sparking international protests, a UN arms embargo, and the later release of Peter Gabriel’s protest song “Biko” (1980).

In what seems an anomaly given the time, the 1977 CIRP Freshman Survey asked whether incoming freshmen respondents could presently perform certain activities well, would like to learn them, or had no interest in learning them. The chosen activities were: typing 40+ words per minute, speaking a second language fluently, water-skiing, skiing on snow, sight-reading piano music, reading music (for singing), refereeing one or more sporting events, using a sewing machine, using Robert’s Rules of Order, scoring a tennis match, identifying many classical musical compositions by title and composer, programming a computer, using a slide rule, swimming a mile without stopping, naming the animal phyla, describing the difference between stocks and bonds, baking a cake from scratch (“no mixes”), describing the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and doing at least 15 push-ups.

This question disappears from the survey after 1977, but its answers partly illustrate 1970s gender roles: 77.9% of women respondents could bake a cake from scratch as opposed to 24.0% of men. Only 5.6% of women, compared to 47.4% of men, had no interest in learning. A total of 63.9% of women respondents could use a sewing machine well; only 9.2% of men could, and 71.7% of men had no interest in learning how. Just over half (53.4%) of women respondents could already type 40+ words per minute compared to 27.9% of men respondents. Interestingly, however, 56.7% of men indicated they would like to learn.

Some answers were more unisex. For instance, only 9.9% of men and 9.7% of women could use Robert’s Rules of Order well; the majority of both men (57.9%) and women (57.2%) had no interest in learning to do so. When asked about their ability to program a computer (which in 1977 meant using BASIC as opposed to today’s SQL, Java, C++, and so on), 9.5% of men and 4.3% of women could do so well; 67.1% of men and 56.6% of women indicated they would like to learn. A total of 28.9% of men and 18.3% of women could use a slide rule; 52.3% of men and 48.4% of women indicated they would like to learn. Only 9.7% of men and 8.1% of women could name the animal phyla, and the majority of both sexes (55.2% of men, 57% of women) had no interest in learning to do so.

Given the emphasis on sporting and cultural activities requiring enough income to afford both specialized equipment and, in the case of snow and water-skiing, access to adequate bodies of water or mountains, when disaggregated by income the responses differed strikingly. For instance, only 11.6% of those students who estimated their parents’ total income as less than $3,000 in 1977 (comparable to approximately $11,500 in 2013 when using a historical standard of living calculator) could ski “very well” on snow. However, 49.6% of those students who estimated their parents’ total income as $50,000 or more in 1977 (comparable to approximately $192,000 in 2013) could ski “very well” on snow.

When asked about water-skiing, 12.3% of those students who estimated their parents’ total income as less than $3,000 could do so “very well,” but 51.1% of those who estimated their parents’ total income as $50,000 or more could do so. And while only 7.1% of students who estimated their parents’ total income as less than $3,000 in 1977 could identify many classical music compositions by title and composer “very well,” 14.0% of those who estimated their parents’ total income as $50,000 or more in 1977 could do so. Finance education also differed by parental income; 19.2% of students who estimated their parents’ total income as less than $3,000 could describe the difference between stocks and bonds “very well,” as compared to 36.1% of those who estimated their parents’ total income as $50,000 or more.

This question is interesting in retrospect because of what it says about survey item selection’s dependence on the cultural context of its time and its designers. Why not ask if students knew how to explain football scoring rather than score a tennis match? Why ask about whether they could ski instead of play baseball, softball, tennis, or soccer? Why ask about push-ups instead of running a mile? Why ask about baking a cake from scratch rather than some other type of cooking? It serves to remind us that every survey has embedded cultural assumptions of some kind.

Did You Know?: 63.8% of incoming freshmen in 1977 agreed either strongly or somewhat that “Grading in the high schools has become too easy.”

71.5% of incoming freshmen in 1977 disagreed either strongly or somewhat that “Open admissions (admitting anyone who applies) should be adopted by all publicly-supported colleges.”

82.2% of incoming freshmen in 1977 disagreed either strongly or somewhat that “College grades should be abolished.”

1977 CIRP Freshman Survey instrument

1976: America's Bicentennial and College Freshmen's Views on Campus Control

Posted by Lesley McBain on April 28th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Bicentennial Logo Commissioned by the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, public domain

It was America’s Bicentennial. It was also a year of the Summer and Winter Olympics. In the Summer Olympics, Nadia Comaneci, the 14-year-old Romanian gymnast, scored seven perfect 10s and won three gold medals. The U.S. men’s swimming team won 12 of 13 gold medals in swimming events, and Bruce Jenner won the decathlon. In the Winter Olympics, the Russian hockey team won the gold medal (again) and 19-year-old Dorothy Hamill won gold in women’s figure skating for the U.S.

In world events, the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot became the virtual dictator of Cambodia; the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) mounted a raid on Entebbe Airport in Uganda to free Israeli hostages from a flight hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Scientific and technological accomplishments included the unmanned U.S. spacecraft Viking I landing on Mars and Air France and British Airways’ beginning regularly scheduled commercial supersonic flights. In the arts, notable fiction works published were Roots (Alex Haley) and The Woman Warrior (Maxine Hong Kingston); A Chorus Line received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Philip Glass wrote Einstein on the Beach, and movie releases included Rocky, Taxi Driver, Network, and All the President’s Men.

What were incoming college freshmen participating in the CIRP Freshman Survey thinking in 1976, in this unsettled time only six years after the Kent State and Jackson State shootings? Unsurprisingly, issues related to campus control were on their minds. When asked their views on the statement “College officials have the right to ban persons with extreme views from speaking on campus,” 77.6% disagreed either “somewhat” or “strongly.” However, responses to the statement “Students have the right to demonstrate to prohibit speakers from coming to campus were slightly less emphatic; 41.3% disagreed either “somewhat” or “strongly,” while 58.7% agreed either “somewhat” or “strongly.”

A total of 70.6% disagreed either “somewhat” or “strongly” with “Student publications should be cleared by college officials,” and 87.1% disagreed either “somewhat” or “strongly” with “College officials have the right to regulate student behavior off campus.” Interestingly, when asked to rate their political liberalism and conservatism (on a scale ranging from “lowest 10%” to “highest 10%”), 51.0% rated their liberalism “average”—just about identical to the 51.1% who rated their conservatism “average.” Only 2.6% of respondents rated their conservatism “highest 10%”; 3.7% of respondents rated their liberalism “highest 10%.”

Related to faculty and grades, 73.7% of entering freshmen respondents agreed “somewhat” or “strongly” that “Faculty promotions should be based in part on student evaluations.” However, 80.9% disagreed “somewhat” or “strongly” with “College grades should be abolished.” This, after the responses related to control of demonstrations, speakers, publications, and behavior, reaffirmed at least some desire for control and assessment as well as the ability to demonstrate academic accomplishments in an uncertain age.

Did you know?: 62.9% of entering college freshmen in 1976 rated themselves as “average” in physical attractiveness.

43.1% of entering freshmen disagreed “strongly” with the statement “As long as they work hard, people should be paid equally regardless of ability or quality of work.”

1976 CIRP Freshman Survey Instrument

1975: College Prep: Academic Skills and Finances Among Incoming Students

Posted by Abbie Bates on April 20th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys, Uncategorized | Comments Off


(Image is open access) http://www.gocollege.com/financial-aid/student-loans/

In 1975, the war in Vietnam finally ended as Communist forces controlled Saigon, and South Vietnam surrendered unconditionally. While Bill Gates and Paul Allen created Microsoft and started to market personal computers to the American people, events of 1975 centered around the global recession that continued to affect nations around the world. For instance, New York City avoided bankruptcy when President Ford provided a $2.3 billion loan and the unemployment rate hit a high of 9.2%.  Goods and services continued to become more expensive and education was no exception.  Tuition rates and other costs related to attending college increased and more students were receiving financial aid.  It is within this context that the CIRP Freshman Survey introduced a question specifically about financial aid and why students are receiving this support.  The question asked:

If you are receiving financial aid from this institution, what is your understanding as to the basis on which your aid was awarded?

  • Financial need
  • Academic talent
  • Athletic talent
  • Other special talent

The response options included: “not a reason,” “minor reason,” and “major reason.”

The majority of freshmen indicated that they were receiving financial aid because of financial need (61.8%).  There was a substantial percentage that indicated that they received financial aid due to academic talent (23.4%) as well.  The percentage of students who believed they were awarded financial aid due to athletic talent was relatively low (7.1%), but the majority of these students were male.  There was a huge gender gap within this category, where 11.8 % of males indicated that they believed their athletic talent was the basis for their financial aid, compared to only 1.4% of females.

Additionally, the survey asked about the confidence with which students felt that they were prepared for college level academics.  This was the first time that this question was asked and it set the stage for subsequent years where students were asked to reflect on their academic experiences in high school.  Specifically, the question stated:

How well do feel that your high school prepared you in the following areas:

  • Mathematical skills
  • Reading and composition
  • Foreign language
  • Science
  • History, social sciences
  • Vocational skills
  • Musical and artistic skills
  • Study habits

The response options for this question were: “poorly,” “fairly well,” and “very well.”

What is interesting about this question is that it asks students to reflect on their preparation for college as a subjective measure of their preparedness.  This question is especially interesting considering these students have not even taken any classes yet. While 40.6% of all students indicated that they felt that their high schools prepared them “very well” in history and social science, only 15.4% of them said the same about foreign language.  Furthermore, within these academic disciplines and skill sets, there are gender differences in terms of preparation as well.  For instance, male students felt they were more prepared in math and science than female students (math: 29.9% for males, 25.2% for females, science: 34.9% for males, 29.4% for females).  Females felt more prepared in reading and composition and music and art than their male counterparts (reading and composition: 36.1% for females, 26.1% for males, music and art: 27.2% for females, 19% for males).  Even though there were these gender differences within the various academic subjects, it is interesting to note that in general, the majority of students did not feel very well prepared in any category.  The highest percentage of students to indicate they felt that their high school prepared them “very well” was in history and social sciences, at 40.6%.  This reveals that students in general did not feel very confident about the education they were receiving from their high schools.


Did you know…

33.6% of all entering freshmen agreed somewhat or strongly that people should not obey laws which violate their personal values

29.8% of all entering freshmen agreed somewhat or strongly that the activities of married women are best confined to the home and family


CIRP-Related Presentations at AERA

Posted by Kevin Eagan on April 16th, 2015 in Conferences, News, News Homepage, Research | Comments Off

The annual conference of the American Educational Research Association kicks off today, Thursday, April 16, and CIRP data are well-represented among the presentations this year. The conference kicks off with a roundtable paper presentation by CIRP graduate student researcher Jennifer Berdan Lozano, former CIRP graduate student researcher Laura Bernhard, and CIRP Director Kevin Eagan. Their paper, “Campus in Color: Examining Faculty Perceptions of Institutional Commitment to Diversity,” highlights data from the 2010-11 HERI Faculty Survey. The authors examine the relationship between how faculty feel about their institution’s commitment to diversity and a number of correlates, such as stress due to subtle discrimination, perceptions of shared governance, and measures of the institutional climate.

On Friday, April 17, Adriana Ruiz Alvarado – a former CIRP graduate student researcher and current HERI postdoctoral research fellow – presents findings from her dissertation, which analyzed 2004 CIRP Freshman Survey data and 2010 data from the National Student Clearinghouse. Dr. Alvarado examines the issue of reverse transfer – moving from a four-year institution to a two-year institution – and what implications this phenomenon among Latino students, in particular, has for community colleges. Her presentation, “Latina/o Reverse Transfer Students: Implications for Community Colleges,” begins at 8:15 a.m. in the Swiss Hotel, Zurich E.

Dr. Sylvia Hurtado and her research team present a poster entitled “Replenishing STEM Pipelines: Factors That Contribute to Undecided Students’ Completion of STEM Bachelor’s Degrees” at 12:25 p.m. in the Sheraton, Chicago Ballrooms VI and VII. This poster examines the characteristics, preparation, and pre-college goals of students who started college as undecided in their major but later switched into and completed a STEM bachelor’s degree. Findings have implications for institutions looking to recover some of the talent lost due to attrition among STEM majors.

Drs. Hurtado and Ruiz Alvarado also present Sunday morning at 10:35 a.m. in a session that also has former HERI graduate student researcher (and current professor at UC Davis) Marcela Cuellar. The session, held in Zurich E of the Swiss Hotel, focuses on Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Dr. Cuellar uses CIRP data to look at differences in outcomes among Latino students based on their enrollment at HSIs, emerging HSIs, or a non-HIS.

Current CIRP graduate student researcher Abbie Bates presents her study, “Predicting Social Self-Concept: The Role of Racial Identity and High School Experiences in College Development,” at 12:25 p.m. Sunday in Zurich C of the Swiss Hotel. This study draws from longitudinal CIRP Freshman Survey and College Senior Survey data to examine the intersection of pre-college experiences and students’ racial identities in terms of understanding how they change in their social self-concept during college.

Check out the full slate of CIRP-related presentations here.

1974: New Social Order: Understanding Students' Identification with Varying Social Identities

Posted by Abbie Bates on April 14th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

(Image is open access) https://www.flickr.com/photos/friarsbalsam/3290348012/

In 1974, the global recession continues to affect not just the United States, but the rest of the world as well. Additionally, impeachment hearings for Richard Nixon ultimately lead to his resignation as President of the United States following the Watergate Scandal. This was also the first year that an African American model appeared on the cover of a fashion magazine and girls were allowed to play in Little League baseball.

It is within this context of political scandal, economic instability, and social “firsts” that a new bank of questions was introduced on the CIRP Freshman Survey that sought to examine students’ identity salience as young adults.  This was the only year that this bank of questions was asked, yet its appearance in 1974 signals a growing interest in non-academic issues that affect students in college.

Specifically, the set of questions contextualized the concept of identity: “Most people identify with (feel they have a great deal in common with) a lot of different groups. But they identify more with some groups than with others.”  The question then asked, “How strongly do you identify with each of the following groups?”

  • People who live in my community
  • People of my own religion
  • People of my own sex
  • People of my own race
  • People of my own generation

Response options for these questions included “little or none,” “moderately,” “strongly,” and “strongest of all.”

Students identified “strongest of all” with people of their own generation (29.1%).  No other identification group even came close as the group with which students identified “strongest of all” (community: 13.6%, religion: 6.7%, sex: 3.5%, race: 8.2%).

For the rest of the identification groups, the majority of students either “moderately” or “strongly” identified with each group.  It is important to note, however, that gender identity was more salient for women than men.  In fact, 37.2% of women indicated that they “strongly” identified with people of their own sex, compared to only 28.8% of men.  Additionally, few students had strong identity ties to people of their own religion, with 34.6% of all freshmen responding that had “little or no[ne]” identification and 42.7% indicating that they only “moderately” identified with this group.

Capturing incoming students’ views as they enter college is important given what we know about how identity shapes the college experience. While the vast majority indicated that they identified most strongly with their generation, and least strongly with their religion, most of the students did identify with more than one group.  This was (and continues to be) an important aspect to consider when trying to understand the impact of college on students.  Beyond academic impacts, the identities that students bring to college will inevitably shape their experiences once enrolled.  It would be interesting to compare the results of this question in 1974 to results of a similar question in the future.  The similarities or differences between these results would characterize the students of the time in a clear and interesting manner.

Did you know…

46% of all entering freshmen agreed somewhat or strongly that if two people really like each other, it’s alright for them to have sex even if they’ve known each other for only a very short time

61.4% of all entering freshmen agreed somewhat or strongly that young people these days understand more about sex than most older people


1973: Stocks Crashing and Oil Rising (& CIRP moves to UCLA): Career Concerns among Incoming College Students

Posted by Abbie Bates on April 7th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

(Image is open access – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis)

In 1973, the CIRP Freshman Survey left the American Council on Education (ACE) and moved to its current home at UCLA. The reasoning for this move is best explained by the authors of the 1973 Freshman Monograph:

“In order to maximize the utilization of these data in research and research training, responsibility for administering the CIRP was transferred in 1973 to the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles.  The annual CIRP survey of entering freshmen is now administered from the Higher Educational Laboratory at UCLA under continuing support and sponsorship of the American Council on Education.”

CIRP and the Freshman Survey have remained at UCLA now for over 4 decades, with the continued support of ACE throughout the years.

A major recession hit the globe in 1973 due to inflation in the United Kingdom and the United States. In response, U.S. car makers closed multiple manufacturing plants, affecting over 100,000 workers nationwide. The prices of gas, food, and other bills skyrocketed as the economy tried to adjust for inflation.

This economic downturn set the stage for the introduction of a new question on the CIRP Freshman Survey.  As people all over the country are thinking about the economy and jobs, students entering college in this context are beginning to think seriously about their careers.  This new bank of items sought to gauge students’ priorities in planning for future careers.  Specifically, the question asked:

Which of the following are important to you in your long term choice of a career occupation? (Very Important, Somewhat Important, Not Important)

  • Job opening generally available
  • Rapid career advancement possible
  • High anticipated earnings
  • Well respected or prestigious occupation
  • Great deal of independence
  • Chance for steady progress
  • Can make an important contribution to society
  • Can avoid pressure
  • Can work with ideas
  • Can be helpful to others
  • Able to work with people
  • Intrinsic interest in the field

The majority of students sought to have careers that were of intrinsic interest to them and provided them with opportunities to work with other people (70.9% and 62.8%, respectively).  Gender differences in terms of career priorities were evident.  For example, approximately half (49.7%) of males indicated that high anticipated earnings were “very important” to them in selecting a future career, compared to only a third (33.4%) of women.  Further, 74.1% of women indicated that they wanted a career in which they could be helpful to others.  In contrast, only 52% of men responded that this was “very important” to them.

These differences showed that although all students entering college were actively thinking about their career choices, stark gender differences characterized this process even as entering freshmen.  Women tended to prioritize careers that involved helping others or contributing to society, while men tended to value careers in which there was more potential for higher earnings or opportunities for progress.

Astin, A. W., King, M. R., Light, J. M., & Richardson, G. T. (1973). The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 1973.

Did you know…

21.7% of all entering freshmen had no brothers/sisters under 21.

42% of all entering freshmen had no brothers/sisters 21 or older.

60.8% of all entering freshmen had no brothers/sisters currently in college.

HERI Summer Institutes

Posted by Lesley McBain on March 25th, 2015 in News, News Homepage | Comments Off

Does combining networking, learning, and summer fun in Los Angeles sound like a good way to spend part of your summer? If so, HERI will again be offering four institutes throughout June, July, and August. These workshops provide opportunities for researchers and practitioners to connect on issues related to diversity research, retention and persistence, using CIRP data on campus, and innovation in undergraduate STEM education. All four institutes will be held at UCLA’s Westwood campus.

The Diversity Research Institute (DRI) will be held on June 16-17, 2015. Last year’s guest speaker Professor Adrianna Kezar will again join Professor Sylvia Hurtado for an intensive, hands-on and expert-led program. Attendees will gain knowledge and confidence to make diversity-related institutional improvements on their campuses.

The Retention & Persistence Institute (RPI) will be held on July 6-7, 2015. CIRP Director Kevin Eagan will lead this institute, focusing on HERI’s recent “Completing College: Assessing Graduation Rates at Four-Year Institutions” report and the latest data on retention from other leading scholars in the field. Participants will learn how to reframe retention discussions on their campuses as well as learn more about HERI’s retention calculator, an innovative tool that accurately predicts an institution’s graduation rate.

The CIRP Summer Institute (CSI) will be held on July 27-29, 2015. At the CIRP Summer Institute, led by CIRP Director Kevin Eagan, CIRP Assistant Director Ellen Stolzenberg, and CIRP Senior Data Manager Maria Suchard, participants not only find out about CIRP’s latest research findings on issues ranging from retention to campus climate and diversity but also receive in-depth training on:

  • The conceptual framework of the CIRP surveys
  • The interpretation and analysis of institutional data
  • Potential uses for the data on campuses

The STEM Summer Institute (SSI) will be held on August 11-12, 2015 and features research from a 10-year study at HERI focused on undergraduate student pathways into and through STEM programs. This intensive two-day workshop will equip participants with skills, knowledge, and insight helpful in identifying, assessing, and addressing campus-specific needs regarding STEM education.

In addition to these exciting programs, participants will have access to all that the beautiful, diverse city of Los Angeles has to offer. We hope you will consider joining us this summer to learn and network.

AERA Conference-April 16-20, 2015 Chicago, Illinois

Posted by Silvio Vallejos on March 10th, 2015 in Conferences | Comments Off

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