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UC Berkeley Press Release

Latest student survey at UC Berkeley finds undergraduates hard to categorize, but feeling positive about their education

– It's time for some new ideas about UC Berkeley students.

Forget the stereotypes about UC Berkeley students either spending all their time in the library or going to a protest at the drop of a hat. Nor is the campus an impersonal place for them. Many students say their professors know them by name and when they aren't in the classroom, more than a third are volunteering for community service.

That's according to the latest annual survey of undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley. The online survey tallies responses from 9,595 students to more than 50 questions about their undergraduate experience, out of a total undergraduate population of 21,803 enrolled in spring 2004.

The sweeping survey aims to capture data about the undergraduates - and quantify their experience at UC Berkeley. Among the findings:

* On their educational experience, 84 percent reported that they were somewhat to very satisfied with their overall academic experience. At the same time, 57 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the value of the education in relation to how much they paid for it.

* On goals and values, 58 percent said it was very important or essential to "establish meaningful friendships." Only 13 percent said it was equally important to form romantic relationships.

* Regarding time management, 56 percent said they had "some" or "a lot of trouble" achieving a high enough GPA, while 33.3 percent said they had some or a lot of trouble managing finances.

* On political views, 46.5 percent identify as liberal, 34.5 percent as middle of the road, and 10.5 percent as conservative. In another question, 34.2 percent described their political views as weak or very weak.

* On identifying themselves, 22.9 percent said they identified as multi-racial or multi-ethnic.

* On how they paid for increased fees in 2003-2004, 42.3 percent said they got more money from their parents, while 17 percent took out a loan or borrowed money. In order to cover the expense of another fee hike in 2004-2005, 21.1 percent say they expect to take a loan or borrow to cover it.

The Office of Student Research broke down some of the responses and compared them to previous survey results. For example, on a question about political identification, the researchers were able to compare the same group of individual students over two years, showing that 69.9 percent did not change their political stance, 11.5 percent moved to the right and 18.6 percent moved to the left.

The full results of the survey, which was conducted in spring and summer 2004, are available online at http://osr.berkeley.edu/Public/surveys/ucues/2004/sp2004_counts.htm.