Majority of Students at Northcentral University Say School Meets or Exceeds Their Expectations, Survey Shows

Results from the July 2010 Noel Levitz Priorities Survey for Online Students (PSOL) demonstrates broad satisfaction across all degree programs. Rigor and breadth of course offerings, quality of online library resources, caliber of academic advisors and enrollment specialists, flexibility of monthly course starts, and convenience of registration process are all highlighted as University strengths.

PRESCOTT VALLEY, ARIZONA, March 14, 2011 — For the third time in seven years Northcentral University (www.ncu.edu) has administered the Noel Levitz Priorities Survey for Online Students (PSOL) to its student body to determine overall levels of satisfaction with their learning experience and, according to the highlights announced today, more than 83% of those surveyed report that their expectations are being met or exceeded by the University.

In fact, according to Dr. Clinton Gardner, President of NCU, the average Northcentral University Student is far more likely than the average online student to own his or her own home, to be employed full-time and to be married with children. The PSOL reveals that 82% of Northcentral Students own their own home, 89% are employed in a full-time job, and 47% are married with children. These statistics are much higher than the national averages, for online students, who stand as 53% homeowners, 65% employed full-time and 36% married with children.

"Ours is a community of working professionals who are here to either advance their career or effect a positive career change,” Dr. Gardener said. "They take their studies seriously, and they hold their university to a very high standard. We are very pleased to earn such a high level of Student satisfaction.

"The administration, faculty, and advisors of Northcentral University are totally dedicated to creating and sustaining a culture of continuous improvement in every area of University life,” Dr. Gardner said. "We rely upon the Noel Levitz PSOL to help us assess our strengths and identify our weaknesses as we move toward our goal of providing Students with the highest quality of higher education. We are very pleased to see that our commitment to continuous improvement is being recognized by our Students, but we also understand that much work remains to be done if we are to continue to meet or exceed the expectations of all of our Students.”

The Noel Levitz Priorities Survey for Online Students (PSOL) was administered in July 2010 to a sample of 4,580 Northcentral University Students. The survey received a response rate of 42%, yielding a sample size large enough and the response rate high enough for the University to portray the results as representative of the overall Student population. The survey was previously administered in 2003 and 2006, enabling both trend and national comparative analysis. Among the strengths the 2010 survey identified are the rigor and breadth of the University’s course offerings, the quality of its online library, the caliber of academic advisors and enrollment specialists, the flexibility of monthly course starts, and the convenience of the registration process. Equally important to the University’s long-term planning process, the levels of satisfaction were consistent across all degree programs.

"From course offerings to resources to advisors the 2010 survey results demonstrate why, when asked, the vast majority of those surveyed said that they would, if given the chance, enroll all over again at Northcentral University,” Dr. Gardner emphasized.

The survey results also paint a portrait of a Northcentral University Student community that is in many ways different from its peers. The Northcentral community tends to be older (with 34% falling between the ages of 45-54), evenly split between women and men (51%-49% women to men), employed full time (89%), homeowners (82%), married or married with children (71%), and increasingly diverse (62% White, 16% African American, 6% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 4% Hispanic) — and serious about their studies. According to the survey, Northcentral Students study between 7 and 18 hours per-week.

Over the last year Northcentral University has implemented a number of ambitious initiatives to simplify and improve the educational experience for all of its Students. Most recently, in January 2011, the University greatly simplified its tuition and fee structure program, moving to all-inclusive model that includes all costs associated with the delivery of a degree program with the exception of textbooks. At the same time, the University has doubled the size of its enrollment and admissions counseling staff to better respond in real-time to prospective and current Student needs. Simultaneous with the staff expansion, the University implemented an enhanced call routing process that enables Students to have faster access to the advisors who can answer their questions.

To better meet Student requests for increased registration flexibility, Northcentral University has also changed course starts from monthly dates to weekly dates. Finally, this year the University will unveil a totally new Student Portal that will make interaction with faculty a much more intuitive user-friendly experience.

"Ours is a very serious community of working professionals who hold this University to the very highest standards,” Dr. Gardner concluded. "As they should. We are viewed increasingly by working professionals as the preferred way to advance their career. We will continue to innovate every area of our academic and services support programs to continue to earn the respect of our Students.”

The Priorities Survey for Online Students (PSOL) was developed by Noel Levitz, an enrollment management consulting firm (www.noellevitz.com) and was first administered in 2001. The survey was designed specifically for the distance learning community. Using a standardized instrument like the PSOL ensures a high degree of validity and reliability and allows for national comparisons with an institution’s peers. As of 2009 the Noel Levitz PSOL had been administered to more than 130 institutions and completed by over 105,000 Students. For the 2009-2010 academic year, the comparison group for Northcentral University consisted of 84,067 Students at 97 institutions who administered the PSOL between Fall 2007 and Spring 2010. The survey consists of 73 questions.