The NCA&T Freshman Survey for Fall 1997

SUMMARY

A survey of first-time freshmen entering North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University was conducted during summer and fall 1997 freshman orientation sessions. This is the thirty-second consecutive year that an annual survey of first-time freshmen has been conducted at NCA&T. The first twenty-eight surveys were conducted under the auspices of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), a continuing longitudinal study of the American higher education system sponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Fall 1997 freshman survey is the fourth to be conducted under the sponsorship of the University of North Carolina General Administration. The survey instrument, "1997-1998 FRESHMAN SURVEY", consists of seven questions, five of which are similar to questions contained in previous CIRP surveys. Thus, information gained from items which are similar to those on the CIRP survey may be used for comparative information and longitudinal research.

The Student Data File (SDF) indicates a total of 7,468 students enrolled at A&T during Fall 1997. Of this total, 1,391 (19%) students were first-time freshmen. During summer and fall 1997 orientation sessions, 1,184 first-time freshmen voluntarily completed the 1997 survey.

NCA&T's survey response rate (85%) was slightly above the total UNC response rate of 83%. In the past four years, the response rate for NCA&T has risen 30 percentage points while UNC total has risen only three percentage points.

A&T's freshmen were very specific in their college choice. Over half (56%) applied to only two colleges, and over one quarter (28%) applied solely to A&T and no other institution. A&T ranked second out of sixteen UNC institutions as a sole-application college, trailing only Fayetteville State University (30%). Previous freshmen survey reports attest that A&T has typically been the first choice of over seventy percent of its entering freshmen.

A&T ranked fifth highest in percentage of freshmen reporting they received financial aid. Eighty-two percent (82%) of A&T freshmen reported receiving some type of financial aid compared with 63% for all UNC freshmen.

Respondents receiving financial aid indicated the kind of aid in categories including academic, financial need, athletic, other (talent-based), and other than listed. The latter category would include self-help such as campus work-study employment. Academic-based financial aid was reported by 29% of A&T respondents, significantly below the 40% reported by the total UNC comparison group. Aid based on financial need was reported by 73% of A&T respondents, substantially above the 65% reported by the comparison group.

Only 4% of A&T participants indicated financial aid based on athletics, somewhat below the 6% reported by the UNC group. Three percent (3%) of A&T respondents reported talent-based (dance, music, etc.) financial aid and 24% reported financial aid in the other category which would include self-help employment. Responses to the latter two categories were not outstandingly different from those of the comparison group.

A&T freshmen reported parental income substantially below parental income of the comparison group. Almost a third (29%) indicated parental income of $20,000 or less while 71% reported $50,000 or less. These percentages are significantly different from the UNC comparisons of 11% and 45% respectively. Information from previous CIRP surveys validates approximately 30% of A&T freshmen with parental income of $20,000 or less.

A&T ranks fifth on the proportion of freshmen (29%) indicating themselves and a single parent as the total family supported, significantly above the 19% indicated by the UNC comparison group. On the other hand, percentages of A&T freshmen reporting family sizes of four, and five or more supported (28%, and 17%) respectively are less than those of the UNC group.

Freshmen at A&T are more likely to be the only dependent currently enrolled in college. Over three quarters (79%) said they were the only family dependent currently in college, compared to 72% reported by the UNC group. The proportion indicating two dependents in college (20%) was lower less than the comparison group.

Less than forty percent (39%) of A&T respondents indicated the highest educational attainment of either parent was high school graduation or some college, while 28% was reported by the comparison group. Over half of A&T respondents (61%) said one or both parents graduated from college, compared to 72% indicated by the UNC group.

A&T freshmen are more likely to have lived in a moderately-sized city of 20,000 to 60,000 and less likely to have lived in rural or large (100,00+) urban areas while in high school. Thirty-five percent (35%) said they were from a moderate city area. The response profile on this question was not very different from the comparison group.

Almost half (48%) of A&T freshmen said they intend to work during their first semester, with 23% showing intention to work twenty or more hours per week. Percentages of A&T respondents planning first semester 20+ hour employment are significantly above those of the UNC comparison group. This higher than average expectation to work may stem from the reported lower parental income and higher financial aid need indicated by respondents.

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