Campus, News

Survey shows concerns

Boston University student Kiran Kaur said while she would recommend attending BU to any academically-motivated student, he or she should take a look at their pocketbooks before committing.

‘It’s a great school if you have the money,’ Kaur said.

Kaur, a Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences junior, was one of the students who voiced their opinions in a survey released by BU administrators two weeks ago.

Kaur said she thinks BU needs to improve on tuition transparency.

‘My parents are paying a large amount for me to go here,’ Kaur said. ‘They need to improve upon letting us know where the money we’re paying is going.’

The 93-question survey addressed many aspects of the college experience, such as support, student life, access to resources and overall satisfaction.

The Office of Enrollment commissioned Maguire Associates, a higher education consulting firm based in Concord, MA, to conduct the survey. BU has sought the firm’s assistance for over a decade, utilizing surveys to collect research and analyze students’ opinions, Enrollment and Student Affairs Vice President Laurie Pohl said in an email.

The questionnaire was a follow-up to the same survey BU administered in 2004. Administrators used that first survey as a benchmark for BU’s current program to gain student feedback every few years, Maguire Associates Research Operations Senior Vice President Tara Scholder said.

‘We made very little changes to it,’ Scholder said. ‘Many of the concerns four years ago are still there.’

Student focus groups and a faculty and staff committee collaborated to form the questions, Pohl said.

‘Repeating the same survey at different points in time allows us to gauge the effectiveness of our programs over time,’ Pohl said. ‘Surveys never tell you specifically what to do. They raise issues that need further exploration. We then identify ways to either sustain and expand what is going well or fix what is not going so well.’

The survey is timed to draw upon the opinions of a new student population.

So far, about 3,500 students have responded, about 25 percent of those sent the survey. There was a 37 percent response rate in 2004, and Pohl said she hopes to reach that level again this year.

Besides financial concerns, cohesiveness between colleges is important, CAS Forum President Vishwast Lai said.

‘There should be some fusion between colleges,’ Lai, a sophomore, said.

The survey’s purpose is to document and evaluate the ‘life cycle of a student,’ Scholder said. Students go though stages, beginning as prospective students, becoming current students, and emerging as an alumni.

‘We aim to follow students from their initial experience as they continue through their studies at the university, and how their experience changes,’ Scholder said.

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