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Press Release


Survey Includes Responses from 77,695 Alumni from all 16 Public Universities in North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, NC – 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 public universities fare after graduation.

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 their experience as undergraduates. The questionnaire assessed graduates’ perceptions of their individual university experiences and how those perceptions related to their wellbeing, engagement in the workplace, and quality of life years after completing their degrees. Gallup presented the results to the UNC Board of Governors today during its regular meeting.

Among the key findings of the survey:

  • A majority of UNC System alumni (64 percent) strongly agreed that their undergraduate education was worth the cost; this is more than 10 percentage points above all national comparison groups.
  • 71 percent of UNC System alumni surveyed strongly agreed that they had a professor in college who ‘made me excited about learning’ compared to 61 percent of respondents from public institutions nationally.
  • UNC System alumni are more likely to have pursued advanced degrees; about half of UNC System graduates (49 percent) who responded to the survey completed postgraduate degrees, far outpacing national comparison groups.
  • UNC System alumni surveyed 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, UNC System alumni surveyed showed higher levels of engagement in the workplace than undergraduate alumni nationally.
  • UNC System alumni reported higher wellbeing compared to national groups; this holds true across all five areas for measuring wellbeing (purpose, social, financial, community and physical).

“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 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 was conducted by email from November 2018 to February 1, 2019 and targeted alumni of the 16 UNC System universities who graduated with bachelor’s degrees between 1940 and 2018 and had active email addresses. In all, 77,695 undergraduate alumni responded to the survey, which translates to a 10 percent response rate.

Results from the survey were compared with three groups from Gallup’s national alumni surveys of those who obtained their degrees between 1940 and 2016. UNC System alumni were compared to Gallup’s samples of U.S. college graduates nationally, graduates of public institutions, and graduates of private institutions.

“We are very pleased with the overall participation and the findings of this survey,” UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith said. “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 and results of this survey can be accessed online at https://www.northcarolina.edu/Alumni-Survey-Report.