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The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2016Prepared by the Staff of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program Kevin Eagan Ellen Bara Stolzenberg Hilary B. Zimmerman Melissa C. Aragon Hannah Whang Sayson Cecilia Rios-AguilarHigher Education Research Institute Graduate School of Education & Information Studies University of California, Los Angeles
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HERI Affiliated Scholars Walter R. Allen, Allan Murray Cartter Professor of Higher Education Alexander W. Astin, Founding Director and Senior Scholar Mitchell J. Chang, Professor M. Kevin Eagan Jr., Assistant Professor in Residence Jessica Harris, Assistant Professor Sylvia Hurtado, Professor Ozan Jaquette, Assistant Professor Patricia M. McDonough, Professor Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Associate Professor Victor B. Sáenz, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin Linda J. Sax, Professor The Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) is based in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Institute serves as an interdisciplinary center for research, evaluation, information, policy studies, and research training in postsecondary education. 3005 Moore Hall/Box 951521, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521 | www.heri.ucla.edu | 310-825-1925 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS : Cover design by Escott & Associates. Page layout and text design by The Oak Co. The authors wish to thank Dominique Harrison for her incredible efforts in managing the survey administration process. We also owe our gratitude to CIRP™s graduate student researchers, an integral part of the CIRP team, contributing to the survey redesign process and expanding the use of CIRP data for research, amongst other essential duties. Published by the Higher Education Research Institute. Suggested citation: Eagan, M. K., Stolzenberg, E. B., Zimmerman, H. B., Aragon, M. C., Whang Sayson, H., & Rios-Aguilar, C. (2017). The American freshman: National norms fall 2016. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA. To download additional copies of this monograph, please visit www.heri.ucla.edu Copyright © 2017By the Regents of the University of California ISBN 978-1-878477-90-3 (paperback) ISBN 978-1-878477-91-0 (e-book) ISBN 978-1-878477-92-7 (e-book, expanded edition) ISBN 978-1-878477-93-4 (print-on-demand)Higher Education Research Institute University of California, Los Angeles Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Associate Professor and Director M. Kevin Eagan Jr., Assistant Professor in Residence and Managing Director
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iiiCONTENTSList of Tables vList of Figures vIntroduction 1The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2016 3Political Orientation | Political Engagement | Political Views 4Women self-identify as liberal more than men 4PluralismŠliving with others with different beliefs 5Tolerance and empathy vary by partisanship 6Rising Costs | Financing College | College Choice 7Rising concern over college costs 7Increasing college costs lead students to work more during college 7Renewed reasons to attend college: Interests and ideas 7More students decide against first-choice college due to costs 8Campus visitsŠa growing value in choosing a college 9First-Generation StudentsŠComplex Motivations 10College choice tied to cost for many first-generation students 10Characteristics and degree motivations of first-generation students 11Mental Health Concerns More Severe Among Students with Disabilities, Psychological Disorders, and Chronic Illness 11Higher likelihood of counseling service use in college 12Anxiety also more prevalent among students with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and psychological disorders 13Disaggregating Diversity: Entering Transgender, Former Foster Care, and Military-Affiliated College Students 14Creativity, confidence, and community engagement among transgender college students 14Transgender students well-positioned for academic and workforce success 15Transgender students and social justice 16Pathways to college among former foster care youth 16College prep opportunities lacking for former foster youth 17Ideology and propensity toward leadership distinguish military-affiliated students 18
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ivTime Spent with Online Social Networks Rises to Record High 20Political identity and online social media participation 21Online social media use does not substitute for in-person interactions 22Students Enroll in Colleges Closer to Home 22References 24The 2016 National Norms 25All First-Time, Full-Time Freshmen by Institutional Type 25Appendix A: Research Methodology 49Appendix B: The 2016 CIRP Freshman Survey Instrument 59Appendix C: Institutions Participating in the 2016 CIRP Freshman Survey 67Appendix D: The Precision of the Normative Data and Their Comparisons 75About the Authors 79Publications 80
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vTables 1. Pluralistic Orientation, by Sex 62. Percent of Group Identifying as First-Generation 113. Student Depression and Likelihood of Seeking Counseling, by Disability/Disorder 13Figures 1. Trends in Political Orientation, by Sex 1970Œ2016 42. Reasons to Attend College and Unemployment Rates, 2012Œ2016 83. Acceptance to and Attendance at First-Choice College, by First-Generation Status 104. Frequency of Feeling Anxious in the Past Year, by Self-Reported Disability 135. Self-Rated Social Self-Confidence, Leadership Ability, and Physical Health, by Gender Identity 156. Habits of Mind and Academic Self-Concept Construct Scores, by Gender Identity 167. Students™ Use of Family Resources to Cover First-Year College Expenses, by Foster Care Status 178. Views on Political and Social Issues, by Type of Military Affiliation 199. Emotional and Physical Well-Being, by Military Status 2010. Proportion of Students Spending Six or More Hours per Week on Social Media, by Sex and Sexual Orientation 2111. Hours per Week Socializing with Friends in Person, by Sex and Time Spent on Social Media 22
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1INTRODUCTIONHERI™s research continues to provide such current and relevant findings due to its com- mitment to exploring diversity within higher education and ensuring its surveys both reflect such diversity and represent the critical issues facing colleges and universities. Extending and intensifying HERI™s ongoing focus on diversity in undergraduate STEM education, former HERI Director Dr. Sylvia Hurtado and current Managing HERI Director Dr. Kevin Eagan received funding in 2016 from the Helmsley Charitable Trust. The grant expands their current research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigating the coordination efforts and structures of undergrad – uate STEM programs at institutions identified as top producers of undergraduate STEM degrees. Leveraging HERI™s resources and expertise, Drs. Hurtado and Eagan also advanced the data collection and analysis efforts of the NIH-funded Diversity Program Consortium . The Consortium develops, implements, and evaluates ﬁinnovative approaches to research training and mentoringﬂ 1 within the biomedical sciences to ensure greater diversity. The 2016 Freshman Survey included 15 new items measuring science identity, science self-efficacy, and commitment to pursue a biomedical career. To better identify, interpret, and address ongoing campus climate issues, we expanded our outreach efforts with additional campus partnerships to conduct more in-depth climate Polarized politics, mental health concerns, and increased institutional efforts to confront and prevent campus sexual assault represent some of the heated national topics that colleges and universities helped us measure in 2016. With its findings from the 2016 Freshman Survey and other national datasets, the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) provided campus leaders, policymakers, Supreme Court justices, and the general public with critical insights about how these debates have affected and are perceived by today™s college students. Last June, our research helped inform the Supreme Court™s decision in Fisher v. The University of Texas to uphold affirmative action in college admission. Our 2015 research briefs provided evidence linking diverse college campuses with strong academic and co- curricular outcomes. Fr om these data Jayakumar (2015) and Hurtado and Ruiz Alvarado (2015) concluded that greater diver – sity on college campuses reduces racialized vulnerability for students of color and fewer reported incidents of bias or discrimination by Black and Latino students. The American Educational Research Association (AERA) cited these studies in its brief filed with the Court in support of The University of Texas. With this decision, higher education institutions retain the flexibility to consider race/ethnicity as one component of a more holistic review of appli – cants™ files. 1˜www.diversityprogramconsortium.org
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2HERI is the nation™s largest and oldest empirical study of higher education, and in 2015 we celebrated 50 years of collecting data via the Freshman Survey , the most comprehensive data available anywhere on new students in the U.S. This milestone was honored at the annual Association for Institutional Research forum in New Orleans, and the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) where HERI received the ASHE Special Merit award for its longstanding and continuing contributions to the higher education research community. In 2017, we seek to build on this strong foun -dation of success by offering professional development opportunities for institutional researchers, graduate students, campus admin – istrators, and faculty through HERI™s Summer Institute series. We will offer four institutes concurrently in June of 2017 that focus on analyses of social networks, strategies to enhance instruction in community college classrooms, approaches in designing and executing studies using data from HERI™s surveys, and promising practices to improve undergraduate STEM education. The CIRP Data Institute and the Community College Faculty Institute will run from June 21Œ23 while the STEM Summer Institute and Social Network Analysis Institute begin June 22 and conclude June 23. assessments using HERI™s Faculty Survey and its Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) surveyŠwith HERI researchers collecting quali – tative data through campus site visits, individual interviews, and student focus groups. The DLE team also added questions to broaden the collec – tive understanding of what college life is like for student veterans and to better represent the diversity of U.S. college students across identi – ties related to gender, sexual orientation, and disability status.HERI continually strives to inform educational and institutional policies and to evaluate the effect of those policies on students through its extensive research program. Staff working at colleges and universities have long played a critical role in shaping students™ experiences and contributing to institutions™ ability to fulfill their missions, yet campuses have lacked a mecha – nism to understand how staff experience and perceive the campus community. Recognizing this, HERI piloted a staff climate survey during the 2016Œ17 academic year and expects to debut it as part of its growing suite of surveys available to both two- and four-year institutions. When combined with the HERI Faculty Survey and Diverse Learning Environments survey, the staff climate survey offers campuses the opportunity to compile a comprehensive portrait of how the campus community experiences and per- ceives climate.
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3THE AMERICAN FRESHMAN: NATIONAL NORMS FALL 2016 The contentious 2016 U.S. presidential election dominated the news cycle in 2016, and findings from the 51st administration of the Freshman Survey reveal one of the most politi – cally polarized cohorts of entering first-year students in the history of the survey, with a larger proportion of students placing greater importance on life goals of influencing the political structure and social values. College costs and affordability emerged as a common topic for candidates seeking political office at all levels, and we highlight below how incoming first- year college students at four-year colleges and universities give increasing weight to cost concerns when deciding which institution to attend.In this report, we revisit the continued decline in how incoming freshmen rate their mental and emotional well-being, and consider differences by disability or medical condition (e.g., chronic illness, ADHD). We also highlight particular subgroups of college students that have gone understudied. In particular, we examine the pre-college experiences, goals, and charac – teristics of transgender students, students who lived as part of the foster care system or as a dependent of the court since turning 13 years old, and students who have an affiliation with the U.S. military. The results reported in this monograph are based upon 137,456 first-time, full-time students who entered 184 U.S. colleges and universities of varying selectivity and type in the fall of 2016. Weights have been applied to these data to reflect the more than 1.5 million first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began college at 1,568 four-year colleges and universi -ties across the U.S. in the fall of 2016. This means that differences of one percentage point in the results published here reflect the characteristics, behaviors, and attitudes of more than 15,000 first-year students nationally. We describe the full methodology of the 2016 Freshman Survey administration, stratification scheme, and weight approach in Appendix A.
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4Political Orientation | Political Engagement | Political Views First-time, full-time students who started college in the fall of 2016 began their undergraduate careers during one of the most contentious U.S. presidential campaigns in recent memory. From candidates™ pronouncements about potential policies and positions on hot-button issues to the never-ending activity of fact-checking among journalists and engaged citizens, the 2016 U.S. presidential election represented the first oppor – tunity to vote for many members of the entering class of 2016. Those who voted weighed their values, evaluated the reliability of information pertaining to candidates™ policy proposals, and engaged in dialogue with friends and family about controversial issues before deciding which candidate received their vote. In the months leading up to the 2016 general election, students participating in the Freshman Survey responded to a number of questions about their political leanings, participation in political campaigns, and perceived confidence in addressing contro – versial issues. WOMEN SELF-IDENTIFY AS LIBERAL MORE THAN MEN Self-reported political orientation among college students typically grows more polarized during U.S. presidential election years; but the fall 2016 entering cohort of first-time, full-time college students has the distinction of being the most polarized cohort in the 51-year history of the Freshman Survey (see Figure 1). Fewer students than ever before (42.3%) catego – rize their political views as ﬁmiddle of the road,ﬂ reflecting a general political polarization within 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 % of Students Women: Liberal or Far Left Men: Liberal or Far Left Liberal or Far Left Middle of the Road Conservative or Far Right Figure 1. Trends in Political Orientation, by Sex 1970Œ2016
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