Public And Private College Grads Rank About Equally In Life Satisfaction

Career College Central summary:

  • At a time when college tuition is rising rapidly—particularly at the nation’s private colleges and universities—students and their parents face the question of whether a more expensive education leads to greater returns later in life. The answer given by those who have graduated from college is that their feelings of personal satisfaction and economic well-being are about the same, no matter which type of institution they attended, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey.
  • Majorities of each group were satisfied with their family life, financial situation and current job. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups on any of those three measures on overall satisfaction, though private school graduates were somewhat more likely than public school graduates to say they were “very satisfied” with their personal financial situation (44% vs. 34%).
  • A survey conducted by Gallup and Purdue University earlier this year, coming at the question a somewhat different way, found that the type of institution the student attended—public or private, selective or less selective—mattered less to their workplace engagement and well-being later in life than the experiences they had while they were in school, such as having an encouraging mentor or participating in an internship or work experience related to classroom learning.
  • College grads feel positively about return on their investment whether they went to a public or private collegeIn the Pew Research survey, both private and public college graduates were likely to say that their education was worth what they and their family paid for it. Roughly equal shares of 83% among private school graduates and 86% among public school graduates said they had already seen a payoff. Small shares of each (5% of private graduates and 7% of public graduates) said they expect to see their educations pay off in the future. The remainder said it will not pay off, or they are not sure.

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