The results of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) survey is in, and it isn’t good for Webster University. The survey was sent to freshmen students in 2009 and is designed to track trends of college students at comparable institutions. The survey addresses a range of student issues, from health and wellness to financial stability and workload. The survey shows some pretty disturbing trends. Of the freshmen, 33 percent indicated they anticipated no financial support from their family, well above the average of 18 percent at similar schools.
Eighteen percent of Webster students had “major concerns” about their ability to finance college, a trend also “much higher” than other schools, according to the survey. The Journal has expressed displeasure with the financial aid department at Webster before. A tragically understaffed and underfunded department, financial aid at Webster fails to run smoothly or fully prepare students for the cost of school. The CIRP survey highlights the growing concerns of young people everywhere: spending several years and tens of thousands of dollars may no longer be the key to a successful, comfortable life. But the Webster trends don’t end there.
Twenty-four percent of students reported using cigarettes, far above other schools, probably to ease the stress of ever-inflating tuition. The Journal also notes that 46 percent of students reported spending less than two hours on sports or exercise, substantially lower than their peers. With Delegates’ Agenda freshly in our rear-view mirror, The Journal would like to suggest that all SGA members, student organizations and administrators in student activities and residential life read the CIRP survey very carefully. Time and time again, Webster students have made clear where their concerns lie. They want easier financial aid with more opportunities for scholarships. They want access to financial aid experts who can guide them in a way understandable to a layman. They have almost no school facilities to speak of for health and fitness.
A school sports team nearly always utilizes the laughably small workout area provided by the athletic department. Ordinary students have few opportunities and even fewer resources to improve their health. With 10 percent of students reporting that they would rate their health as “low” and 15 percent reporting feeling frequently depressed (both trends much higher at Webster than other schools) it should serve as a wake-up call for student and faculty leaders. The Journal hopes administrators will explore real options to bring these trends within reason.
The well being of students is paramount to a functioning institution. Students cannot possibly get a full educational experience if their mind is constantly tied to feelings of depression, concerns about money and a lack of basic equipment for physical health. The Journal knows that Webster students don’t just want more, they need more, and they should expect more.