College students optimistic about the future

Community college students are fairly optimistic around their futures, according to a survey by Cengage.

The inaugural Cengage Student Opportunity Index found 78 percent of students pursuing an associate degree are optimistic about their future, compared to 85 percent of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

When asked “how optimistic, if at all, do you feel about your future?” 31 percent of community college students said very optimistic, 47 percent said somewhat optimistic, 17 percent said somewhat not optimistic, and 5 percent said not at all optimistic.

In other findings from the survey:

  • Among students pursuing an associate degree, 88 percent are very or somewhat confident that they will land a job related to their academic major within six months of graduating.
  • Fifty-two percent of people who recently earned an associate degree are currently working in a job related to their educational background.
  • Ninety-two percent of students pursuing an associate degree believe it is very or somewhat likely that the number of jobs in their field of study will increase in the next two years.
  • Among those who recently earned an associate degree, 83 percent are optimistic that the number of jobs in their field of study will increase in the next two years.
  • When asked how confident they are that they will be employed in a job that meets their ideal salary expectations 12 months after graduation, only 16 percent of students pursuing an associate degree said they are “completely confident.” That compares to 25 percent for those pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
  • In response to a question about which non-financial considerations are the most important factors to feel satisfied in a job or career, 45 percent of students pursuing an associate degree said having a work-life balance; 40 percent said having a career that helps people or society; 39 percent said having an enjoyable work culture; 30 percent said having opportunities for growth; and 15 percent said having intellectual or otherwise challenging work. (Respondents were asked to pick two.)
  • Sixty-seven percent of students pursuing an associate degree expect to have no student debt after they graduate, compared to 41 percent of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
  • Thirty-four percent of community college students with student loan debt estimate they will be able to pay it off within one year.
  • Fifty-nine percent of students pursuing an associate degree (and 62 percent of those pursuing a bachelor’s degree) expect their quality of life, including economic earnings and happiness, to be much better or somewhat better than that of their parents.

About the Author

Ellie Ashford
is associate editor of Community College Daily.