BOONE, N.C. — The University of North Carolina System has released the results of a far-reaching alumni survey that provides a first-of-its-kind look at how graduates from North Carolina’s 16 public universities — including Appalachian State University — fare after graduation.
Results from the study offer evidence that UNC System alumni outpace their peers in employment, engagement at work, well-being, educational value and attachment to their alma mater.
The Alumni Outcomes Survey was developed in response to the UNC System’s Strategic Plan, which called on the System to collect data on graduate success in post-college life and the link between those outcomes and the alumni’s undergraduate experience.
The questionnaire assessed graduates’ perceptions of their individual university experiences and how those perceptions relate to their well-being, engagement in the workplace and quality of life years after completing their degrees.
In all, 77,695 undergraduate alumni responded to the survey, including 8,153 Appalachian alumni. The overall response rate of UNC System alumni was 10%.
Gallup presented the results to the UNC Board of Governors in May. Key findings from the survey:
- A majority of UNC System alumni (64%) strongly agreed that their undergraduate education was worth the cost; this is more than 10 percentage points above all national comparison groups.
- 71% of UNC System alumni surveyed strongly agreed that they had a professor in college who made them excited about learning compared to 61% of respondents from public institutions nationally.
- UNC System alumni are more likely to have pursued advanced degrees. About half of UNC System graduates (49%) who responded to the survey completed postgraduate degrees, far outpacing national comparison groups.
- UNC System alumni are more likely to recommend and feel a strong sense of attachment to their alma mater than the national sample of graduates from public universities.
- Overall, the UNC System alumni surveyed showed higher levels of engagement in the workplace than undergraduate alumni nationally.
- UNC System alumni reported higher well-being compared to national groups. This holds true across all five areas used for measuring well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.
Among the 8,153 Appalachian alumni who participated in the survey, 42% reported being engaged in the workplace — seven percentage points higher than the average for alumni nationally.
Additionally, 66% of Appalachian alumni said they strongly agreed that their undergraduate education was worth the cost, and 74% strongly agreed that they had a professor in college who made them excited about learning.
“We were hoping to confirm through data what we have believed for some time — that our alumni have expanded opportunities and a better quality of life as a result of their UNC System education,” said UNC System Interim President Bill Roper. “The (survey) results show that our alumni are more engaged, better prepared and lead more purposeful lives compared to the average college graduate.”
The Gallup Alumni Outcomes Survey, conducted by email from November 2018 to Feb. 1, targeted alumni of the 16 UNC System universities who graduated with bachelor’s degrees between 1940 and 2018 and had active email addresses.
Results from the survey were compared with three groups from Gallup’s national alumni surveys: U.S. college graduates nationally, graduates of public institutions and graduates of private institutions. The participants in these national surveys obtained their degrees between 1940 and 2016.
“We are very pleased with the overall participation and the findings of this survey,” said Harry Smith, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors. “The ultimate test of the education our universities provide is how well it prepares graduates for a successful career and fulfilling life. The survey results help to confirm the extraordinary value a UNC System education can provide, as well as how much the college experience means to those who complete it.”
The complete report is available at https://www.northcarolina.edu/Alumni-Survey-Report.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.