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Undergraduate survey to compare MIT, other colleges

The Planning Office, in cooperation with the Consortium on the Financing of Higher Education (COFHE), is surveying the MIT undergraduate student body to gather information about various aspects of their MIT experience.

The COFHE survey is being administered to undergraduates at colleges and universities across the country including Yale, Cornell and Wellesley.

The basic survey-known as the Spring 1996 Cycles Survey-was developed by the colleges and universities in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts and is administered to their students annually. It is designed to measure student satisfaction on a wide range of campus issues of mutual interest to the participating schools.

For example, the survey asks for each student's satisfaction with academic advising, residential experience, campus security, athletic programs and class size. It also addresses satisfaction with university administration including offices of financial aid, the registrar, career development and student accounts. There are several questions dealing with harassment issues and campus climate as well.

Many of the questions on the survey will seem "non-MIT" or less specfic to Institute culture then questions which have been used in other recent MIT student surveys. This methodology was necessary because of the need to find common ground among all the participants, according to the Planning Office. The survey will permit comparison of MIT with its peers on the amount of writing required and the number of hours spent using computers, for example.

The Cycles Survey also provided participating schools with the option of including 20 local questions. Nineteen of MIT's questions are focused on housing issues. The data gathered will be used in planning for the construction of new undergraduate residence halls and living groups at MIT.

The last local question returns to the issue of satisfaction. It is a question that has been used in several other surveys of MIT undergraduates and MIT alumni/ae conducted recently. It asks whether a student would encourage a current high school senior to attend MIT.

The survey is entirely voluntary. Students may elect to answer as many or as few of the questions as they wish. All answers will be kept confidential. Although one question requests a Student ID number, the Planning Office suggests that all students leave this response blank.

The surveys will be distributed to students at their local residential address this week. All completed surveys should be returned to the Planning Office, Rm 12-156.

Questions concerning this project should be directed to the Planning Office, Rm 12-192 or .

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 20, 1996.

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