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Only 55% of College Students Agree their Educational Experience is Worth the Cost

Last updated:  March 17, 2022

Students who feel their institution understands them are more satisfied with their college experiences


PROVO, Utah and SEATTLE, March 17, 2022 — Only half of current college students (55%) agree the education they’re receiving is worth their tuition, even after vaccines have made in-person learning increasingly possible over the past year. The new research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM) also reveals a disconnect between students and administrators when it comes to how happy students are with the social aspects of college. Seventy-eight percent of administrators say students are satisfied with their social experience, while just 58% of students say they are.


More than 1 million fewer students are enrolled in U.S. colleges this school year than in 2019 — an ongoing enrollment crisis that is forcing institutions to invest in ensuring students feel included, listened to and understood.


Students who feel their institutions understand what’s important to them report higher levels of satisfaction with their school. Students who feel understood have 41 percentage point higher (89% vs 48%) levels of satisfaction with their academic experience as well as 24 percentage point higher (67% vs. 43%) levels of satisfaction with their social experience.


A fulfilling social life, which involves feelings of inclusion and well-being, is key to students’ overall experience. Only 61% of students are satisfied with their social life, and just 59% say they feel connected to peers at their institution.


Students who say their institution understands what’s important to them also report feeling cared about by school staff, faculty and leaders at much higher rates. Among students who do say their school understands them, 83% agree school leaders care about them. But among students who said their school does not understand what’s important to them, just 37% agree leaders care.


“To deliver the best possible experience for students, higher ed leaders must not only provide regular opportunities for feedback across channels, but also show they’re listening and actually using that feedback to make tangible improvements across the student journey—institutionally and individually,” said Omar Garriott, global head of education at Qualtrics. “Our research shows that students’ satisfaction is directly tied to feeling like they belong and that their voice is being heard. Opportunities abound for schools to continue to prioritize student experience and expand upon sentiment programs put in place during the pandemic.”


Students who say their institution understands what’s important to them report higher levels of satisfaction:





  Students who say their institution understands what’s important to them Students who say their institution does not understand what’s important to them
Agree that they have opportunities to give feedback. 89% 39%
Agree that their voice is heard when they give feedback. 68% 16%
Are satisfied with their academic experience. 89% 48%
Are satisfied with their social experience. 67% 43%
Are satisfied with their overall experience. 87% 45%




This study was fielded between January 27, 2022 and February 8, 2022. Respondents were identified through a panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are currently enrolled in a college associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed. The total number of respondents is 1,009.


Read more about the study findings at:


About Qualtrics XM for Education


With over 20 years of experience in education, Qualtrics serves institutions around the world across K-12 and higher education—including 99 of the top 100 business schools and over half of the top 50 U.S. school districts—helping them understand and improve the experiences they deliver. Qualtrics solutions are purpose-built to help leaders in education understand experiences across departments, take the right actions to attract and retain students and staff and increase engagement and success. Qualtrics’ XM for Education solutions uncover unique insights into the student journey and empower school leaders to close experience gaps—driving increases in enrollment, retention and graduation.


To learn more about XM for Education please visit:


About Qualtrics


Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand. Over 16,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and take action on experience data (X-data™)—the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit