Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Infl uencing College Choice

 
Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Infl uencing College Choice
2012 National Research Report

Why Did They Enroll?
The Factors Influencing College Choice
An analysis of traditional-aged students

What matters to students when deciding where to enroll?
There are a variety of factors that influence a student’s decision to enroll. Factors such as
cost and the availability of financial aid are universally important at all types of institutions.
However, other factors can vary widely by institution type, demographics, class level, and
whether the student enrolled at his or her top choice.
Every year, hundreds of campuses administer the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory™
(SSI) to their students. In addition to more than 70 items rated for importance and satisfaction
on the general student experience, the SSI includes nine items that address factors in a
student’s decision to enroll.
During the fall of 2011, more than 55,000 students from more than 100 public and private four-
year and two-year institutions completed the SSI. These students rated the factors to enroll
items on a scale of one (meaning not important at all) to seven (very important). This report
details the responses from the nationwide pool of data.
In particular, this report has a special emphasis on the nearly 22,000 first-year students who
responded in order to see which items scored higher with ratings of important or very
important (a ranking of six or seven on the answer scale). Comparisons with upperclass
students and between students at their first-choice institution versus those attending their
second- or third-choice institution are also provided. In addition, the report highlights trend
results in enrollment factors as originally reported in our recent 15-year satisfaction
trend reports.
Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Infl uencing College Choice
About the study
                 The study is based on data gathered from students who completed the Student Satisfaction
This study
             Inventory during the fall of 2011 at colleges and universities nationwide.
includes a
comparison       Table 1: Participants
between
first-year                                                     Number of                                                          Total number of
                  Institution type
students and                                                 institutions                                                        student records
students who      Four-year private colleges and
                  universities                                     63                                                                    25,070
have been
                  Four-year public colleges and
enrolled          universities
                                                                   9                                                                     11,277
two years         Community, junior, and technical
or more           colleges
                                                                   14                                                                    11,859
(upperclass       Two-year career and private
                                                                   32                                                                    7,607
students).        schools
                        Total                                                              118                                           55,813
                                                                                                                                                   TM

                 The full list of contributing institutions can be found in the appendix.

                 These schools provide a cross section of the student experience. The focus of the data is from the
                 fall semester because that is when enrollment factors are likely to be most current in the minds of
                 students, especially first-year students.
                 This year’s study provides comparisons between first-year students and students who have been
                 enrolled two years or more (upperclass students). There is also a comparison between two groups
                 of first-year students: those who perceive themselves to be at their first-choice institution and those
                 who identify the institution as their second or third choice.
                 This report focuses on traditional college students. A separate study is available on the factors to
                 enroll for students in adult learner undergraduate or graduate programs and students enrolled in
                 online learning programs.

                2 © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • 2012 National Research Report: Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Choice
Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Infl uencing College Choice
Demographic mix of respondents
    Class level for all students                                Institutional choice
    at all institutions                                         (first-year students only)

                                                                  36%
                                42%
      58%
                                                                                            64%

                                      TM                                                            TM

          First-year students                                        First-year, first-choice students
          Upperclass students                                        First-year, second- and third-choice students

Specific information regarding the demographic distribution by institution type is included in the appendix.

What factors are considered?
The following list describes each available factor that students rate on the Student Satisfaction
Inventory.
• Cost: Addresses how important tuition was in the student’s decision to enroll.
• Financial aid: Takes into consideration the financial aid package that was offered to the student.
• Academic reputation: Reflects what the student thinks he or she knows about the academic quality
  of the institution.
• Size of the institution: Indicates how important the size of the institution, either large or small, was
  to the student.
• Recommendations from family and friends: Reflects the importance of comments and
  encouragements from family members.
• Geographic setting: Addresses campus location as a factor because of distance from home as well as
  the setting of the school (urban, rural, etc.).
• Campus appearance: Considers how the campus looks to the student and may also reflect
  perceptions of campus maintenance.
• Personalized attention prior to enrollment: Indicates the student’s perception of how he or she was
  treated through the admissions process.

These factors may also have influence for specific institutions:
• Opportunity to play sports: For four-year and community college campuses, examines how critical
  the opportunity to compete athletically was to the student.
• Employment opportunities: Reveals a factor unique to the career and private school version of the
  Student Satisfaction Inventory and indicates the student’s perceptions regarding career options with
  a degree from the institution.

                                                                                     © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • www.noellevitz.com 3
Factors to enroll: First-year students
              90%                                                                                                                                            Four-year private
                                                   86%
                                 83%       84%                        84%
                                                                                                                                                  82%
                                                                                                                                                             first-year students
              80%          79%
                              81% 81%        80%
                                                78%
                                                           79%
                                                                                                                                                             Four-year public
                                                              75%                                                                    75%
                                                                    71%                                             72%                                      first-year students
              70%                                                                    70%
                                                                                                     68%                                   68%
                                                                               64%
                                                                                                                                                             Community college
                                                                                                              63%          62% 63%
                                                                            63%                                                              61%             first-year students
              60%                                                                                          58%                                  59%
                                                                                                                 56%
                                                                                                                                 54%                         Career school
              50%                                                                 50%       49%50%
                                                                                                                                                             first-year students
                                                                                                 45%

              40%

              30%
              20%
              10%
                0%                                                                                                                                      TM

                             Cost         Financial       Academic            Size of      Recommend       Geographic       Campus    Personalized
Cost,                                        aid          reputation        institution    from family       setting      appearance attention prior
financial                                                                                                                             to enrollment

aid, and
academic      This chart lists the eight enrollment factors that are consistent on the Student Satisfaction Inventory across
reputation    all four institution types. The percentage reflects students indicating that the item is important or very important.
were the
top factors   What is most important to first-year students?
across all
              Cost, financial aid, and academic reputation were the top enrollment factors across all institution types.
institution
              These three variables appear to play a critical role in influencing students’ enrollment decisions. The
types.        other factors included in the list of choices were all more important to students at career schools
              than they were to students at four-year private and public colleges or community colleges, especially
              personalized attention prior to enrollment. It should be noted that employment opportunities, which
              is a unique item on the career-school survey and is not included in the chart above, was the top
              enrollment factor for these institutions, with 89 percent of students indicating it was important or very
              important to their decision.
              Certainly the cost of attending a college—regardless of the type of institution attended—played a role
              in enrollment decisions. With students attending public four-year and two-year campuses, cost was the
              dominant factor. At four-year private colleges, it ranked third behind academic reputation. At two-year
              career schools, cost—while still important with an 81 percent score—was fifth behind employment
              opportunities, financial aid, academic reputation, and personalized attention.
              Financial aid joined cost at the top of the enrollment factors and was the top issue for students at
              four-year private campuses. At two-year private institutions, financial aid was a close second behind
              employment opportunities, with nearly 86 percent saying it was important. Clearly, economic issues—
              how much will their educations cost, how will they pay for it—weigh heavily on the minds of students.
              Even the top enrollment factor from students at career schools, future career opportunities, indicates a
              strong economic concern.
              Academic reputation was also a strong factor, ranking as one of the top three enrollment factors across
              all institution types, with at least 70 percent of students indicating it was important or very important.

              4 © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • 2012 National Research Report: Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Choice
Factors to enroll: Comparison of first-year students and upperclass students
While enrollment factors may be top of mind to first-year students, it is also interesting to observe the
perceptions of upperclass students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors at four-year institutions and second-
and third-year students at two-year institutions). It should be noted that upperclass responses could reflect
either students’ original decision to enroll or their current decision to continue their enrollment into the
coming year—the survey does not specifically ask if they are ranking their original enrollment factors. Either
way, the responses provide an indication of the relative importance of these factors to upperclass students.
Four-year private institutions: First-year students vs. upperclass students
                        83.9%
80%                         83.8%     79.1%
                                                                                                                                              Four-year private
          78.5%                                                                                                                               first-year students
              76.2%                       77.8%
70%                                                                                                                    68.1%                  Four-year private
                                                                                                                                              upperclass
                                                    62.9%                                                62.4%             62.7%
60%                                                                                                                                           students
                                                        56.4%                              57.7%
                                                                                                             53.9%
                                                                                               51.6%
50%                                                                           48.9%
                                                                                   48.7%
40%
                                                                  33.7%
30%                                                                   29.0%

20%
10%
                                                                                                                                      TM
 0%
          Cost        Financial     Academic        Size of     Opportunity Recommend Geographic Campus     Personalized
                         aid        reputation    institution     to play      from     setting appearance attention prior
                                                                   sports     family                       to enrollement

At four-year privates, the factors of financial aid and family recommendation were relatively
unchanged as enrollment factors when comparing class levels. All of the factors were as or more
important to first-year students. Campus appearance had the biggest movement between first-year
and upperclass students with an 8.5 percentage point shift down in importance, followed by a 6.5
percentage point shift down in importance for institution size for upperclass students.
Four-year public institutions: First-year students vs. upperclass students

80%      80.5%        79.6%                                                                                                                   Four-year public
              79.2%        77.5%          75.2%                                                                                               first-year students
                                     74.9%
70%                                                                                                                                           Four-year public
                                                                                                66.2%
                                                   64.2%
                                                                                           63.1%         63.4%                                upperclass
                                                        60.5%                                                           61.3%
60%                                                                                                                                           students
                                                                                                             55.6%          56.3%

50%                                                                           49.7%
                                                                                   45.5%

40%
                                                                  33.2%
30%
                                                                      23.0%
20%
10%
                                                                                                                                      TM
 0%
          Cost        Financial     Academic        Size of     Opportunity Recommend Geographic   Campus Personalized
                         aid        reputation    institution     to play      from     setting  appearance attention prior
                                                                   sports     family                        to enrollement

For students at four-year publics, the perception of academic reputation was unchanged based
on class level. Geographic setting actually became more important to upperclass students by 3.1
percentage points. The opportunity to play sports had the biggest drop in importance between first-
year students and upperclass students with a 10.2 percentage point shift down, followed by campus
appearance with a 7.8 percentage point decrease in importance to upperclass students.
                                                                                            © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • www.noellevitz.com 5
Community colleges: First-year students vs. second- and third-year students

            83.0%
80%              83.0%
                                                                                                                                                    Community college
                           78.1%                                                                                                                    first-year students
                                76.3%
                                          71.2%
70%                                            71.0%
                                                                                                                                                    Community college
                                                                                                                                                    second- and third-
60%                                                                                                       60.2%                   59.1%             year students
                                                                                                     55.8%                             57.5%
                                                                                                                     53.6%
50%                                                       49.9%                                                           53.6%
                                                               49.3%                   45.3%
                                                                                            44.8%
40%
30%
                                                                          23.7%
20%                                                                            22.1%

10%
                                                                                                                                               TM
 0%
             Cost        Financial      Academic          Size of       Opportunity Recommend Geographic Campus     Personalized
                            aid         reputation      institution       to play      from     setting appearance attention prior
                                                                           sports     family                       to enrollement

With a potentially shorter span of time for first-year students at community colleges to students in
their second or possibly third year, there were fewer shifts in perceptions for factors in the decision to
enroll, with many items maintaining the same percentage. The one exception is geographic setting,
which was slightly more important by 4.4 percentage points for second- and third-year students as
compared with first-year students.
Career and private schools: First-year students vs. second- and third-year students

90%                                                                       89.2%                                                                     Career school
                           85.7%
                                          83.5%
                                                                               86.1%                                                                first-year students
            81.0%               83.5%                                                                                             81.7%
80%                                            80.7%
                                                                                                                                       77.7%        Career school
                 76.5%
                                                                                                    72.0%
                                                                                                                    74.6%                           second- and third-
70%                                                       69.6%                        68.0%             69.8%
                                                                                                                         71.5%
                                                                                                                                                    year students
                                                               66.8%
                                                                                            63.7%
60%

50%
40%

30%
20%

10%
                                                                                                                                               TM
 0%
            Cost         Financial      Academic         Size of          Future     Recommend Geographic           Campus    Personalized
                            aid         reputation     institution     employment       from     setting          appearance attention prior
                                                                       opportunities   family                                to enrollement

First-year students at two-year career and private schools indicated slightly higher importance
scores on all items, with the recommendations from family and friends as well as personalized
attention prior to enrollment reflecting the greatest difference by 4 percentage points compared
with second- and third-year students. Again, the percentages stayed relatively consistent across the
class level designations.

6 © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • 2012 National Research Report: Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Choice
Factors to enroll: Comparison for first-year students at their first-
choice institution vs. second and third choice
Students who perceived themselves to be at their first-choice institutions were typically more satisfied
with their overall experience than students who perceived themselves to be at their second- or third-
choice institution. While we don’t know why an institution was a first or second choice for a student,
we can see which factors may have influenced enrollment when we slice the data for just first-year
students with the additional indicator of institutional choice.
Four-year private institutions: First-year students, first choice vs.
first-year students, second and third choice
                         84.1%
             80.6%            83.7%     81.4%                                                                                                         Four-year private
80%     77.4%                                                                                                                                         first-year, first-
                                            74.5%
                                                                                                                              70.1%
                                                                                                                                                      choice students
70%
                                                        64.4%                                                                     64.3%               Four-year private
                                                                                                               62.5%                                  first-year, second-
                                                             60.1%
60%                                                                                                    57.9%        62.2%
                                                                                                  57.5%                                               and third-choice
                                                                                     50.5%                                                            students
50%
                                                                                         45.6%

40%                                                                         39.4%

30%                                                                     30.6%

20%
10%
                                                                                                                                            TM
 0%
        Cost           Financial      Academic          Size of       Opportunity Recommend Geographic   Campus    Personalized
                          aid         reputation      institution       to play      from     setting  appearance attention prior
                                                                         sports     family                        to enrollement

Interestingly, the perception of financial aid as a factor in the decision to enroll was basically the same for
students at their first choice and those at their second or third choice. The opportunity to play sports was 8.8
percentage points more important to students at their second- or third-choice school, followed by cost with a
higher importance of 3.2 percentage points. Academic reputation was 6.9 percentage points more important to
students at their first-choice institution followed by the personalized attention prior to enrollment, which was
more important by 5.8 percentage points.
Four-year public institutions: First-year students, first choice vs.
first-year students, second and third choice
               83.8%          83.8%
80%                                                                                                                                                   Four-year public
         78.3%           76.8%           75.5%                                                                                                        first-year, first-
70%
                                              73.7%                                                                                                   choice students
                                                         65.5%                                    67.5%
                                                                                                                65.4%                                 Four-year public
                                                              61.8%                                                           61.4%                   first-year, second-
60%                                                                                                                 60.3%
                                                                                                                                   61.1%
                                                                                                       56.2%                                          and third-choice
50%                                                                                  51.1%                                                            students
                                                                                          47.6%

40%                                                                          38.7%

30%                                                                      29.6%

20%
10%
                                                                                                                                             TM
 0%
         Cost          Financial      Academic          Size of       Opportunity Recommend Geographic Campus     Personalized
                          aid         reputation      institution       to play      from     setting appearance attention prior
                                                                         sports     family                       to enrollement

For students at four-year public institutions, the perceptions of academic reputation and personalized
attention prior to enrollment were the same across institutional choice, but geographic setting was
                                                                                                    © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • www.noellevitz.com 7
more important to students at their first choice by 11.3 percentage points, with campus appearance
having the next biggest difference of 5.1 percentage points. For students at their second or third
choice, the opportunity to play sports was more important by 9.1 percentage points, financial aid more
important by 7 percentage points, and the perception of cost more important by 5.5 percentage points.
Community colleges: First-year students, first choice vs.
first-year students, second and third choice
             83.0%
80%               82.9%     79.4%                                                                                                                 Community College
                                 75.7%     73.7%                                                                                                  first-year, first-
70%                                                                                                                                               choice students
                                               66.3%
                                                                                                                                                  Community College
                                                                                                                                 61.0%
60%                                                                                                  58.5%                                        first-year, second-
                                                                                                                    55.0%            55.3%        and third-choice
                                                         51.3%
50%                                                                                   48.4%
                                                                                                         50.7%           50.8%                    students
                                                              47.0%

40%                                                                                        39.2%

30%
                                                                            27.1%
                                                                        21.9%
20%
10%
                                                                                                                                             TM
 0%
             Cost         Financial      Academic        Size of      Opportunity Recommend Geographic Campus     Personalized
                             aid         reputation    institution      to play      from     setting appearance attention prior
                                                                         sports     family                       to enrollement

First-choice students at community colleges placed a higher importance on the recommendations
from their family and friends by 9.2 percentage points, followed by geographic setting (7.8 percentage
points) and academic reputation (7.4 percentage points). The one area that was more important to
students at their second or third choice is the opportunity to play sports by 5.2 percentage points.
Career and private schools: First-year students, first choice vs.
first-year students, second and third choice

90%                                                                     90.6%                                                                     Career school
                            87.3%                                            87.1%
                                 83.1%
                                           85.7%
                                                                                                                                 83.5%            first-year, first-
             82.5%
80%               78.5%                        79.9%                                                                                 78.7%
                                                                                                                                                  choice students
                                                                                                                    76.7%
                                                         71.7%
                                                                                                     74.4%                                        Career school
70%                                                                                    70.2%                             71.1%
                                                                                                          67.7%                                   first-year, second-
                                                             65.8%                                                                                and third-choice
                                                                                           64.3%
60%                                                                                                                                               students

50%
40%
30%
20%

10%
                                                                                                                                             TM
 0%
             Cost         Financial      Academic        Size of      Future     Recommend Geographic Campus     Personalized
                             aid         reputation    institution employment       from     setting appearance attention prior
                                                                   opportunities   family                       to enrollement

At career and private schools, first-choice students all had higher importance scores than students
who indicated that they were at their second- or third-choice institution. Geographic setting had the
highest importance difference between the two groups with 6.7 percentage points.

8 © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • 2012 National Research Report: Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Choice
Fifteen-year trends on enrollment factors
In 2011, Noel-Levitz published a series of reports focusing on the importance and satisfaction trends
on institutions over the past 15 years. These reports included a review on the shifts in enrollment factor
perceptions over the course of that period. The relevant findings include:
Four-year private institutions: Students in 2009-2010 indicated much higher importance scores on cost
(6.8 percentage points), campus appearance (5.6 percentage points), and financial aid (5.1 percentage
points) than students in 1994-1995.
Four-year public institutions: All factors increased in importance between 1994-1995 and 2009-2010,
with the biggest jumps coming for financial aid (15.1 percentage points), personalized attention prior to
enrollment (10.9 percentage points), and recommendations from family and friends (10.3 percentage
points).
Community colleges: All of the factors increased in importance for students between 1994-1995 and 2009-
2010, with financial aid reflecting the largest jump at 8.7 percentage points, followed by the opportunity to
play sports (8.1 percentage points) and recommendations from family and friends (7.8 percentage points).
Career and private schools: Several factors had double-digit increases in importance between 1996-1997
and 2010-2011: Recommendations from family and friends (16.0 percentage points), school appearance
(15.7 percentage points), geographic setting (13.5 percentage points), and size of institution (12.2
percentage points).
For more information on how the priorities of students have changed over time, please see the 15-year
reports, available at: www.noellevitz.com/benchmark15years

How these findings impact your work in student recruitment and retention
What do these results signify for campus professionals? The results suggest three priority action items:
1. Prospective and current students want to know how much their education will cost. Your Web site and
   other campus communications should make this information accessible. If you are changing tuition,
   communicate this clearly to current students, as well as why tuition is changing and how students will
   benefit from the change. Be sure to make full use of federally mandated tuition calculators to provide
   complete, current information to prospective and current students on your Web site.
2. Make financial aid information easy to obtain. This goes beyond the first year of enrollment—students
   likely want to know how much financial assistance will be available during their entire campus careers.
   Information on other financial resources, such as scholarships, is also important.
3. Use your academic reputation to express the value of your educational offerings. Students need to know
   that an education from your institution is worth the investment. Making the strengths, features, benefits,
   and outcomes of your academic offerings clear will go a long way toward helping prospective students
   decide to enroll with you, as well as convincing current students to persist and graduate. Your faculty and
   staff should also express your institution’s academic excellence in their interactions with students.
In addition, keep in mind that personalized attention prior to enrollment also plays an important role,
especially at private institutions. Delivering personalized attention at every point of contact—in the mail,
online, over the phone, and on campus—can make a big difference in persuading a student to enroll and
to persist. It’s also an area where your campus has a unique opportunity to differentiate itself from other
institutions.
Location, size and setting, while not unimportant, do not rank nearly as high as these other factors. Tell
students what it will cost, what financial assistance will be available, and the value of your educational
offerings, and you address these top three elements that impact enrollment decisions.

                                                                        © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • www.noellevitz.com 9
Appendix I: List of institutions
Four-year private institutions                        Simpson University, CA                                 Career and private schools
Abilene Christian University, TX                      Southern Nazarene                                      Anthem Career College-
Azusa Pacific University, CA                             University, OK                                         Memphis, TN
Bethel College, IN                                    Southern Virginia University, VA                       Anthem Career College-
Bethel University, MN                                 Southwestern Adventist                                    Nashville, TN
Bethune-Cookman University, FL                           University, TX                                      Anthem College-Atlanta, GA
Biola University, CA                                  Spring Arbor University, MI                            Anthem College-Dallas, TX
Bryan College, TN                                     St. Edward’s University, TX                            Anthem College-Denver, CO
California Baptist University, CA                     Tabor College, KS                                      Anthem College-Fenton, MO
Cedarville University, OH                             Taylor University, IN                                  Anthem College-
Coker College, SC                                     Trinity Christian College, IL                             Kansas City, MO
Concordia University Texas, TX                        University of Tampa, FL                                Anthem College-Maryland
Corban University, OR                                 Valley Forge Christian College, PA                        Heights, MO
Cornerstone University, MI                            Warner University, FL                                  Anthem College-Milwaukee, WI
Covenant College, GA                                  Waynesburg University, PA                              Anthem College-Minnesota, MN
Cox College, MO                                       Williams Baptist College, AR                           Anthem College-Orlando, FL
Crown College, MN                                                                                            Anthem College-Phoenix, AZ
Eastern University, PA                                Four-year public institutions                          Anthem College-Portland, OR
Evangel University, MO                                Dakota State University, SD                            Anthem College-
Fresno Pacific University, CA                         Mississippi State University, MS                          Sacramento, CA
Geneva College, PA                                    Montana Tech - North, MT                               Anthem Institute-
Gordon College, MA                                    Salem State University, MA                                Cherry Hill, NJ
Goshen College, IN                                    South Carolina State                                   Anthem Institute-
Grace College and Seminary, IN                          University, SC                                          Jersey City, NJ
Graceland University, IA                              South Dakota State University, SD                      Anthem Institute-Las Vegas, NV
Greenville College, IL                                University of Michigan-                                Anthem Institute-
Hope International University, CA                       Dearborn, MI                                            Manhattan, NJ
Houston Baptist University, TX                        University of Minnesota                                Anthem Institute-
Huntington University, IN                               Duluth, MN                                              North Brunswick, NJ
Indiana Wesleyan University, IN                       University of Nebraska, NE                             Anthem Institute-
John Brown University, AR                                                                                       Parsippany, NJ
LeTourneau University, TX                                                                                    Anthem Institute-Springfield, PA
Lincoln College, IL                                   Community colleges                                     The Bryman School of
Lipscomb University, TN                               Augusta Technical College, GA                             Arizona, AZ
Manhattan Christian College, KS                       Bucks County Community                                 City College of Altamonte, FL
McPherson College, KS                                    College, PA                                         City College of
Mid-America Christian                                 Coffeyville Community                                     Ft. Lauderdale, FL
   University, OK                                        College, KS                                         City College of Gainesville, FL
Milligan College, TN                                  Cypress College, CA                                    City College of Hollywood, CA
Milwaukee Institute of Art &                          Eastern Idaho Tech College, ID                         City College of Miami, FL
   Design, WI                                         Fox Valley Technical College, WI                       Laurel Business Institute, PA
Mississippi College, MS                               Heartland Community College, IL                        Morrison University, NV
Montreat College, NC                                  Highland Community College, IL                         Pima Medical Institute-
Northwest Christian University, OR                    Kilian Community College, SD                              Mesa, AZ
Northwest Nazarene University, ID                     Lanier Technical College, GA                           Salter College, MA
Northwest University, WA                              Montana Tech - South, MT                               Taylor Business Institute, IL
Northwestern College, MN                              Piedmont Technical College, SC
Ohio Dominican University, OH                         Spokane Falls Community
Pacific Northwest College of                             College, WA
   Art, OR                                            Tri-County Technical College, SC
Palm Beach Atlantic University, FL
Rockhurst University, MO
Siena College, NY

Note: This list reflects only the institutions which administered the Student
Satisfaction Inventory between September 1 and December 31, 2011.

10 © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • 2012 National Research Report: Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Choice
Appendix II: Demographics
     Table 2: Class level by institution type

                                                         First-year                               Upperclass
      Institution type
                                                      student counts                            student counts
      Four-year private colleges and
      universities                                            8,023                                    16,145
      Four-year public colleges and
      universities
                                                              2,709                                     7,608
      Community, junior, and technical
      colleges
                                                              5,600                                     5,147
      Two-year career and private
      schools
                                                              5,519                                     1,784

      Total                                                  21,851                                    30,684
                                                                                                                                         TM

     Table 3: Institutional choice by institutional type (first-year students only)

                                                 First-year, first-choice            First-year, second- and third-
      Institution type
                                                     student counts                      choice student counts
      Four-year private colleges and
      universities                                            5,166                                     2,798
      Four-year public colleges and
      universities
                                                              1,652                                     1,045
      Community, junior, and technical
      colleges
                                                              3,588                                     1,947
      Two-year career and private
      schools
                                                              3,495                                     1,970

      Total                                                  13,901                                     7,760
                                                                                                                                         TM

Note: Overall student counts reflect all students in the data set, but not all students indicated a class level or
an institutional choice.

                                                                                      © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • www.noellevitz.com 11
Appendix III: Complete tables for each data set
      Table 4: Comparison across institution type for first-year students only
                                                                    Four-year                 Four-year               Community             Career
                                                                      private                   public                  college             school
        Enrollment factors
                                                                    first-year                first-year               first-year         first-year
                                                                     students                  students                students           students
        Cost                                                             78.5%                    80.5%                   83.0%             81.0%
        Financial aid                                                    83.9%                    79.6%                   78.1%             85.7%
        Academic reputation                                              79.1%                    74.9%                   71.2%             83.5%
        Size of institution                                              62.9%                    64.2%                   49.9%             69.6%
        Recommendations from family                                      48.9%                    49.7%                   45.3%             68.0%
        Geographic setting                                               57.7%                    63.1%                   55.8%             72.0%
        Campus appearance                                                62.4%                    63.4%                   53.6%             74.6%
        Personalized attention prior to enrollment                       68.1%                    61.3%                   59.1%             81.7%
                                                                                                                                                       TM

      Table 5: Four-year private institutions: First-year students vs. upperclass students

        Enrollment factors                                                First-year students                             Upperclass students
        Cost                                                                         78.5%                                        76.2%
        Financial aid                                                                83.9%                                        83.8%
        Academic reputation                                                          79.1%                                        77.8%
        Size of institution                                                          62.9%                                        56.4%
        Opportunity to play sports                                                   33.7%                                        29.0%
        Recommendations from family                                                  48.9%                                        48.7%
        Geographic setting                                                           57.7%                                        51.6%
        Campus appearance                                                            62.4%                                        53.9%
        Personalized attention prior to enrollment                                   68.1%                                        62.7%
                                                                                                                                                       TM

      Table 6: Four-year public Institutions: First-year students vs. upperclass students

        Enrollment factors                                                First-year students                             Upperclass students
        Cost                                                                         80.5%                                        79.2%
        Financial aid                                                                79.6%                                        77.5%
        Academic reputation                                                          74.9%                                        75.2%
        Size of institution                                                          64.2%                                        60.5%
        Opportunity to play sports                                                   33.2%                                        23.0%
        Recommendations from family                                                  49.7%                                        45.5%
        Geographic setting                                                           63.1%                                        66.2%
        Campus appearance                                                            63.4%                                        55.6%
        Personalized attention prior to enrollment                                   61.3%                                        56.3%
                                                                                                                                                       TM

12 © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • 2012 National Research Report: Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Choice
Table 7: Community colleges: First-year students vs. second- and third-year students

                                                First-year                     Second- and third-year
 Enrollment factors
                                                 students                            students
 Cost                                              83.0%                                     83.0%
 Financial aid                                     78.1%                                     76.3%
 Academic reputation                               71.2%                                     71.0%
 Size of institution                               49.9%                                     49.3%
 Opportunity to play sports                        23.7%                                     22.1%
 Recommendations from family                       45.3%                                     44.8%
 Geographic setting                                55.8%                                     60.2%
 Campus appearance                                 53.6%                                     53.6%
 Personalized attention prior to enrollment        59.1%                                     57.5%
                                                                                                                 TM

Table 8: Career and private schools: First-year students vs. second- and third-year students

                                                First-year                     Second- and third-year
 Enrollment factors
                                                 students                            students
 Cost                                              81.0%                                     76.5%
 Financial aid                                     85.7%                                     83.5%
 Academic reputation                               83.5%                                     80.7%
 Size of institution                               69.6%                                     66.8%
 Future employment opportunities                   89.2%                                     86.1%
 Recommendations from family                       68.0%                                     63.7%
 Geographic setting                                72.0%                                     69.8%
 Campus appearance                                 74.6%                                     71.5%
 Personalized attention prior to enrollment        81.7%                                     77.7%
                                                                                                                 TM

                                                              © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • www.noellevitz.com 13
Table 9: Four-year private institutions: First-year students, first-choice campus vs. first-year
      students, second- and third-choice campus

                                                                                    First                                 Second or third
       Enrollment factors
                                                                                   choice                                    choice
       Cost                                                                          77.4%                                     80.6%
       Financial aid                                                                 84.1%                                     83.7%
       Academic reputation                                                           81.4%                                     74.5%
       Size of institution                                                           64.4%                                     60.1%
       Opportunity to play sports                                                    30.6%                                     39.4%
       Recommendations from family                                                   50.5%                                     45.6%
       Geographic setting                                                            57.5%                                     57.9%
       Campus appearance                                                             62.5%                                     62.2%
       Personalized attention prior to enrollment                                    70.1%                                     64.3%
                                                                                                                                            TM

      Table 10: Four-year public institutions: First-year students, first-choice campus vs. first-year
      students, second- and third-choice campus
                                                                                    First                                 Second or third
        Enrollment factors
                                                                                   choice                                    choice
        Cost                                                                         78.3%                                     83.8%
        Financial aid                                                                76.8%                                     83.8%
        Academic reputation                                                          75.5%                                     73.7%
        Size of institution                                                          65.5%                                     61.8%
        Opportunity to play sports                                                   29.6%                                     38.7%
        Recommendations from family                                                  51.1%                                     47.6%
        Geographic setting                                                           67.5%                                     56.2%
        Campus appearance                                                            65.4%                                     60.3%
        Personalized attention prior to enrollment                                   61.4%                                     61.1%
                                                                                                                                            TM

14 © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • 2012 National Research Report: Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Choice
Table 11: Community colleges: First-year students, first-choice campus vs. first-year students,
second- and third-choice campus
                                                   First                              Second or third
 Enrollment factors
                                                  choice                                 choice
 Cost                                               83.0%                                     82.9%
 Financial aid                                      79.4%                                     75.7%
 Academic reputation                                73.7%                                     66.3%
 Size of institution                                51.3%                                     47.0%
 Opportunity to play sports                         21.9%                                     27.1%
 Recommendations from family                        48.4%                                     39.2%
 Geographic setting                                 58.5%                                     50.7%
 Campus appearance                                  55.0%                                     50.8%
 Personalized attention prior to enrollment         61.0%                                     55.3%
                                                                                                                  TM

Table 12: Career and private schools: First-year students, first-choice campus vs. first-year students,
second- and third-choice campus
                                                   First                              Second or third
 Enrollment factors
                                                  choice                                 choice
 Cost                                               82.5%                                     78.5%
 Financial aid                                      87.3%                                     83.1%
 Academic reputation                                85.7%                                     79.9%
 Size of institution                                71.7%                                     65.8%
 Future employment opportunities                    90.6%                                     87.1%
 Recommendations from family                        70.2%                                     64.3%
 Geographic setting                                 74.4%                                     67.7%
 Campus appearance                                  76.7%                                     71.1%
 Personalized attention prior to enrollment         83.5%                                     78.7%
                                                                                                                  TM

                                                               © 2012 Noel-Levitz, Inc. • www.noellevitz.com 15
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                     How to cite this report
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                     Coralville, Iowa: Author. Retrieved from www.noellevitz.com/Factors2012.
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