An Evaluation of Higher Education: the Student Perspective
MIT PhD candidate Loreto Cox presented findings from her research at the Centro de Estudios Públicos in Chile.
(Event flyer for Loreto’s talk at the Centro de Estudios Públicos. Source: Twitter.)
In 2016, GOV/LAB provided support for Loreto Cox’s dissertation research examining the political effects of expected versus actual returns to higher education. Her local partner NGO, Fundación por una Carrera, received a detailed report on the evaluation of higher education, labor expectations, and the gap between expected and average income of past graduates. This report on how students view and interact with higher education institutions provides relevant information for the main task of the NGO: expanding higher education access for low-income people. Loreto recently presented part of her research findings at the Centro de Estudios Públicos, a non-partisan think tank in Chile. Below are a few highlights from her presentation, which focused on the policy-oriented results of her broader research. The full presentation is available online here.
In November 2016 in collaboration with 49 higher education institutions, Loreto implemented an online survey to over 14,000 students in Chile who either were in their final year of study or had recently graduated. The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth evaluation of the Chilean higher education system and to characterize the graduates’ work expectations and perception of the country.
How students choose where and what they study
One question in the survey asked students to select the three most important factors in choosing an institution of higher education. The responses in the chart below identify academic and employment reasons as primary motivators, with academic level and prestige, job opportunities post-graduation, and institute accreditation being the three most popular responses (58%, 30%, and 26% respectively).
Similarly, students identified academic reasons (e.g. rigor, prestige, and available courses) as the most important factors for choosing their degrees, followed by vocation (or calling) and employment opportunities (see chart below).