Survey Says: From Freshman to Senior Year, Students Love the Lehman Experience

A new survey of Lehman College students found that nearly ninety percent had a favorable experience during their time on the campus.

The poll, conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), found that eighty-seven percent of Lehman College students described their freshman year as “excellent” or “good”—two points above the national average.

But perhaps the more impressive statistic was that students’ enthusiasm for the College did not diminish over the course of their college career.

When Lehman seniors were asked about their experience at Lehman, eighty-three percent described their time here as “excellent” or “good.”

“I think of Lehman as a second family,” says Nikita Shetty, a current Lehman student and recipient of a Lehman Foundation Scholarship. “Everybody here’s kind, very friendly, very hospitable, and it feels like home.”

Lehman scored high in other categories. Freshmen and seniors report that instructors were prompt and detailed with their feedback on assignments, and that the College encourages interaction among students with different backgrounds.

The cost of college also plays into students’ perceptions and their campus experience. According to U.S. News and World Report, Lehman College is the No. 5 college—public or private—in the north region for students who graduate with the least debt.

“There’s a lot of scholarship and financial aid, which was an important factor in deciding where to go,” said Elisa Lannon, who earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and is now pursuing a master’s degree. “I didn’t want to go into a ton of debt for my master’s degree or my undergrad. So Lehman’s given me that ability to say that I have no debt for my whole college career.”

As student debt nationwide has skyrocketed and U.S. college graduates owe an average of about $27,000, eighty percent of CUNY students graduate without federal student loans, according to a new report “The CUNY Value Plus.” Almost half of those who carry loans after graduation are transfer students who chose CUNY after attending a more costly private or public institution.

For Lehman graduate, veteran, and mother of two Kasha Taylor, it was the College’s low-cost tuition, plus work and careful budgeting, that allowed her to cover 70 percent of her costs with her veterans’ benefits. She paid the remainder before collecting her diploma.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” said Taylor, who earned a degree in business administration and plans to attend graduate school. “A lot of people feel the higher the tuition, the higher the education. I disagree. My professors were awesome.”

It is an opinion that mirrors those of freshmen and seniors when asked about faculty in the NSSE survey: that their teachers are clear in explaining course goals and expectations, and are accessible and supportive.

The NSSE annually collects data from hundreds of senior colleges and universities across the United States. Lehman College participated in the NSSE’s 2013 survey.