You don't need to sit down—yet—to hear this: A recent survey affirmed that an overwhelming number of Sarah Lawrence alumnae/i —some 92 percent of those polled—is very satisfied with their education.
92% were satisfied or very satisfied with their Sarah Lawrence education. 92% strongly agree SLC must maintain the donning and conference system. 82% reported getting a job within one year of graduating. 78% credited their SLC education with enhancing their awareness of societal problems. 55% feel a responsibility to support Sarah Lawrence College. 40% give regularly to the college.
But pull up a chair. This gets more interesting.
A healthy appreciation for their education does not necessarily lead alumnae/i to make contributions to the College: Only 55 percent of those polled reported that they "felt a responsibility" to support Sarah Lawrence.
And just 40 percent give on a regular basis, about 32 — 35 percent in any given year.
The 52-question survey, The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium Alumni Survey (HEDS), was sent out by the Office of Alumnae/i Relations in 2004, asking respondents from that year's reunion classes to examine their lives, their education and their relationship to Sarah Lawrence. Overall results were positive on just about all fronts, including satisfaction with life choices and a strong sense of connectedness to the College.
Alumnae/i indicated they want their future Sarah Lawrence support to go to, in order of priority: student scholarships, faculty salaries, endowment, and renovations/physical plant.
"The fact that so many of our alumnae/i value their Sarah Lawrence experience is just wonderful," says President Michele Myers, "and clearly it has influence on their lives long, long after they leave here." But Myers also hopes that the College can benefit from the same kind of financial participation as peers like Mount Holyoke (46 percent of whose alums support the school) and Wesleyan (48 percent), she says.
Like all colleges, Sarah Lawrence needs support from its alumnae/i— but did you know that the greater the number of alums who make a gift, the better we look to the outside world? "In the not-for-profit world, satisfaction is measured by giving," says Vice President for College Resources Suzanne M. Murphy. "Among colleges and universities, the ratio of satisfaction to participation is even more crucial. There are a lot of tough judges out there, and they rate us on factors that include participation. U.S. News and World Report, for example, factors our participation percentage into their overall rating of Sarah Lawrence— which, in turn, can affect the number of students who decide to apply."