Survey shows Goshen College student satisfaction well above national average

Eight out of ten Goshen College students are satisfied with their college experience and, overall, experienced higher levels of satisfaction with their college experience than the national average, according to the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), a biennial national survey administered to college students at more than 300 four-year private schools.

GC students averaged 5.60 on a 7-point scale when rating their overall satisfaction, compared to 5.25 at four-year private institutions nationally. Eighty percent of GC students report being “somewhat satisfied,” “satisfied” or “very satisfied,” compared to 72 percent nationally, and only four percent described themselves as somewhat dissatisfied or worse, compared to 14 percent nationally.

GC student satisfaction was significantly higher than the national group on 28 survey items.

“Our students continue to be very happy with the experience and education they receive at Goshen College,” said President Rebecca Stoltzfus. “The high satisfaction reflects the outstanding commitment of our faculty and staff to create a vibrant living and learning environment for our students. Survey data like these also help us identify areas for further growth and take steps to improve in those areas.”

The SSI measures the satisfaction of traditional undergraduate students using 73 questions related to areas of academic and student life on a seven-point scale. Thirty-two percent of Goshen College’s student body participated in the survey.

The SSI organizes survey questions into eleven broad categories; in every one of these categories, Goshen’s “performance gap” (the difference between satisfaction and importance scores) was significantly better than the national group. There is no significant difference in overall experience by gender, race/ethnicity or residence (on or off campus).

Although GC rated higher than the national group in all SSI categories, instruction, advising and academic support services were the most highly rated areas.

“This is particularly remarkable because student need for academic support has grown in recent years,” said Justin Heinzekehr, director of institutional research and assessment.

Over the past decade, there has been a six percent increase in first-generation students (from 23 to 29 percent) and an 11 percent increase in students receiving Pell grants (from 21 to 32 percent), which are need-based federal grants for low-income students.

Overall satisfaction in areas of religious and racial belonging, community reputation and admissions have also shown significant improvement over past survey administrations.

The Student Satisfaction Inventory is created by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, which provides strategic enrollment and fundraising solutions for colleges and universities. Goshen has participated in the SSI since 2002.