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Ninety-two percent of respondents to a recent community survey felt the quality of education provided by East Central College to be excellent or good.


Convenient locations were another strong factor indicated by the 585 adult residents of the ECC district who were interviewed in a random phone poll conducted in January.


The survey, conducted by the St. Louis based Warren Poll, found that 44 percent of respondents said they or a member of their family had enrolled at ECC.  Over 32 percent cited convenience as the chief reason for enrolling, while 26 percent stated affordability.  Sixteen percent noted academic program offerings as the main reason for enrolling.


Dr. Ken Warren, in reviewing the survey results with college trustees at their April 1 meeting, noted that when district residents were asked when it would be most convenient to take classes, online classes were mentioned by more than 35 percent.  Over 47 percent of respondents noted that they would be likely or very likely to attend ECC if they could take all of the ir courses online.  In a related question, almost 60 percent felt that online degrees were just as valuable as traditional on-campus degrees, while more than 38 percent felt online degrees were less valuable.  


When ECC district residents were asked to rank the importance of several services provided by the college, respondents ranked items associated with academic quality at the top.  Eighty-one percent  felt that a well-qualified faculty was very important, followed by scholarships at 73 percent, financial aid at 72 percent, four-year transfer programs at 71 percent, career/technical programs at 69 percent and the A+ program at 68 percent.


In each career area, over 90 percent of respondents rated ECC as excellent or good in preparing students for their chosen profession.


Though less than 22 percent of respondents felt that ECC’s $81 per credit hour tuition rate was expensive, almost a third of those surveyed noted that the weak economy in the past five years had affected their ability or a family member’s ability to attend college.


Almost all residents agreed or strongly agreed that the area benefits from ECC expanding by adding educational opportunities and programs.  Almost the same unanimous percentage of respondents believe that the college helps promote economic development in the area and feel having an excellent community college helps to improve property values.


In an open-ended question, respondents were asked to suggest one thing that ECC could do to improve.  The top four suggestions were:  improve communications; expand program/course offerings; add more online courses and improve the transfer of credit to four year colleges.


College President Jon Bauer noted that a similar poll was conducted in 2006 prior to the Proposition RN bond issue.  “We hope to conduct a similar survey of the district every two years and use the findings as part of our planning and quality improvement processes.”


Over 54 percent of the residents surveyed had lived in the district more than 20 years, and almost half live in households with no children 18 years on younger.  Twenty-one percent of the sample were under age 35, 21 percent were 65 or older with the balance in the middle age categories. 


Warren noted that the error margin for 585 randomly interviewed respondents is plus or minus four percent at 95 percent confidence.  Landline and cell phones were included in the sample to increase representation.


2013 Community Survey

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