Misc, Spring 2017 Articles

Secure State Students: Life After Graduation

As the number of people receiving a higher education continues to soar, the total number of loans being taken continues to soar, as well, reaching upwards of $1.3 Trillion. The societal requisites to receive a higher education whilst paying off loans puts a significant amount of pressure on students as they embark in their search for a job. Though Raleigh continues to stand at the top of Forbes’ list as a successful source of jobs, finding a job is a potentially daunting task.

PackPoll decided to measure students’ views about job security and student loans, which we have also done in the past. First, we asked students how confident they were in being able to find a job after graduation. Respondents were instructed to rank their confidence on a scale ranging from one to five, where answering “5” indicated maximum confidence. Overall, state students are highly confident. On the five-point scale, the average was 3.75, with the majority (62%) choosing either “4” or “5” as their answer.  Just 11% total picked either “1” or “2”

When we asked this question in 2016, the results were similar. The same percentage had picked “1” or “2” (11%), while slightly more (70%) picked either “4” or “5”. Only 8% of respondents were not confident about finding a job out of college. Confidence has significantly increased compared to 2013 when we first asked about job prospects, around the time we were emerging from the “Great Recession.” Although the answer options were different, 83% said they were “a little worried” or more than that about finding a job after graduation (“somewhat” and “very”).

Next, we asked students how concerned they were about paying off student loans after graduating. Out of the 65% of students polled that said they receive student loans, only eleven percent were unconcerned at all about paying off loans. Sixteen percent were “very concerned” and another 37% combined were “somewhat” or “slightly” concerned. Concern about being able to pay off loans has remained stable since last year when 18% said they were unconcerned. Both last year and this year, nearly a third of students polled say they do not have student loans, a number worth noting.

It seems that although there is significant pressure to pursue a higher education, even if it means taking out student loans, students are unwavering in their confidence in finding a job, something worth finding relief in. The optimism in students’ confidence continues to climb and will be worth noting the changes, if any, with the new presidential administration. PackPoll will be sure to continue following this trend.

A Toplines report for all survey questions, and results, is available here: Big Poll Spring 2017 Toplines

NOTE ON METHODOLOGY: This semesters’ “Big Poll” took place February 14-18, 2017. The survey was administered over the internet to a random sample of 4,500 NCSU undergraduates and 876 completed the survey, generating a 19.5% response rate. Assuming a 50-50 division in opinion calculated at a 95 percent confidence level, the margin of sampling error for this survey is +/-3.25% when questions were answered by the full sample; sampling error increases for estimates when three or more choices were offered, when fewer respondents were asked a version of a question, or when analyzing the opinions of sub-groups, such as when looking just at how females responded to a question.

In addition to sampling error, other forms of non-sampling error occur in surveys, such as confusion about question wording or the order of questions, and non-response bias (low response rates), but these types of error are not precisely quantifiable. We do not apply post-stratification sample weights for the slight demographic imbalance in gender because weighting the data would not have noticeable effects on the results.

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