2011 Barrytown College Phone Survey Results
Submitted to the President and the Board of Directors
Unification Theological Seminary
by Josephine Hauer, Ed.D.
March 24, 2011
After reviewing the findings of the Barrytown College Project Survey (July, 2010) that explored the interest of the Unificationist community in America in an undergraduate program on Barrytown campus, the Board of Directors of the Unification Theological Seminary asked for a follow-up survey to target a subset of families and to further explore interest in college majors. The target population consisted of Unification families living in the United States with children who would be college age within the years 2013-2017. This population was estimated to include approximately 650 families based on demographic data from the Blessed Family Association database. 300 families from this population were randomly selected to request their participation in a telephone survey. Telephone surveys were conducted by volunteers over a three month period (December, 2010 – February, 2011) and results were recorded in an online database using Zoomerang. Over 200 families were successfully contacted by phone and asked to participate in the survey resulting in 121 completed surveys.
Description of the Sample
68 males and 55 females completed the telephone survey. 8% of respondents indicated their age as 24 years or younger. 9% were between 25-44 years and 83% were 45 years or older. 94% indicated that they had at least one child between the ages of 12 – 18 years old or at least one child over 18 that had not yet completed an undergraduate college program. 24% of respondents came from New York; 22% from New Jersey; 11% from New England; 23% from West Coast states; and 20% from states in the Midwest or Southwest. 92% rated their child’s ability to speak and write in the English language as excellent.
32% indicated yearly income as $49,000 or below; 35% reported income between $50,000 – $75,000; 18% reported income between $75,000-99,000; and 8% reported income above $100,000.
Total Household Income
Chart 2 shows 56% of survey respondents indicated they were “definitely interested” or “interested” in Barrytown College. 31% reported to be “somewhat interested”.
Interest in Barrytown College
Results showed interest within the Unification community for an undergraduate college emphasizing academic rigor and moral values within a supportive environment for Unificationist marriage and family traditions. Over 70% of respondents indicated marriage and family life preparation and affordability as very important. Other “very important” features were academic rigor and personal relationships with professors.
Important Features for Barrytown College
Participants were asked to rank their preference (from 1-most interested to 6-least interested) in the following proposed majors: Media Arts, Business, Philosophy and World Religions, Psychology and Family Studies, Nonprofit Leadership and Economics. 30% indicated Media Arts as the major of most interest; 23% indicated Business and 20% indicated Philosophy and World Religions. Media Arts and Business were preferred as the first or second choice of major compared to other options (see chart below).
Preferred Academic Majors
Participants also identified from one to three other majors of interest. The most frequently occurring majors within the 101 responses were the following in descending order: Arts, Science, Engineering, Education, Business, Media and Music.
After listing these majors, participants rated their interest in attending the college if none of the majors listed previously was available. 13% indicated strong interest, 67% indicated some interest and 20% indicated no interest.
Affordability and Attendance
Respondents rated the likelihood of attending Barrytown College under various cost scenarios. The decreasing blue and gold bars in Chart 5 (from left to right) show that attendance would be greatly influenced by affordability or the expected parental contribution in a financial aid package.
Affordability and Likeliness to Attend
Participants were asked to provide comments at the end of the survey on the development of Barrytown College at UTS campus. Selected quotes are provided below under common themes that were found within the 85 responses to this section.
a) Support for the Barrytown College Project
I think it sounds like a great idea. My answers aren’t meant to sound unenthusiastic but I am already a junior in college and am not looking to transfer. I like the idea that the college would be something that could replace STF – that you could be at school but you would also be with other BCs. When I was looking for school I was looking for something that was interesting to me and was really affordable. In Brigham Young University, almost all of the Mormon tithing money goes to support the school so a lot of kids can afford to go there.
Great idea! An important way to influence the culture and leave a legacy.
I like the idea that the college would be something that could replace STF – that you could be at school but you would also be with other BCs.
b) Suggestions for majors and importance of career development
Be able to prepare for a professional career. Education must be useful!
Degree must qualify student for a job in society.
c) Suggestions for other features, programs
Professors having good relationship with students. Administration is also very important, financial aid, etc. Student’s ability to attend must be flow from start to finish – No STRESS to attend. Team work and good communication with college admin essential.
Internships are an important aspect to create hands-on experiences for students – students learn a lot more that way.
Academic rigor is very important. Extracurricular activities are important.
I would be MOST interested in a 2-year program from which a student could transfer. The first year of college is the most sensitive and I would like to see a 2-year college. At least initially, consider a 2-year possibility so someone could get associates degree after two years. That would be a real plus, whether someone went on directly to a four-year degree, or worked before continuing, an associates program would be a good initial option.
The option of a 2 year program enabling students to grow in practical life experience (overcoming obstacles) is attractive. Also the exposure to world religions is interesting for student.
d) Comments about the proposed location or management.
Student life is pillar of education and should well managed. Atmosphere, facility, extracurricular activities.
Barrytown is terribly run down and not attractive.
Barrytown offers an excellent locale for study and spiritual development.
Limitations of the Study
The study aspired to identify a sample of 200 Unificationist families representing a “target market” for the initial years of Barrytown College. A small percentage of families contacted were not eligible to participate in the study because they did not have children in the proper age range. Other individuals contacted who chose not to participate did so because of a language barrier. Many Unificationist families in America have one parent from Korea or Japan who are not fluent in English. The findings of this study may not be representative of those types of Unificationist families or individuals. Recruiting volunteers who speak Japanese or Korean will be important in future studies.
It is important to note that the sample represents a population of “core” or strongly self-identified Unificationist families who have submitted contact information to the Blessed Family Association database. This group does not include couples who have attended a Unification Church Blessing Ceremony where at least one of the partners did not consider themselves to be Unificationist. Some ‘Blessed Couples’ with children who identify themselves individually or as a family as another religion (or no religion) may represent another target market for recruitment. It is important to identify this more religiously diverse group of families loosely associated with the Unification Church in America to gauge their interest in the college.
Implications of the Study
The findings from this survey are, in the overall sense consistent with many of the findings from the previous studies regarding highly valued features of the college and level of interest expressed by participants. Key demographic patterns such as income distribution were also consistent with those in the previous studies. Affordability continues to be a key for college decisions. Highly relevant implications of the findings from this study are as follows:
1) Media Arts is somewhat more preferred than Business as a possible major to consider including in the initial degree program offerings besides Religious Studies (or Religion and Philosophy) and Psychology and Family Studies. Creating partnerships for internships at the Manhattan Center or other organizations/businesses will be an important feature to attract more career-minded students.
2) 80% of survey participants indicated at least some interest in the college even if none of the other majors of interest were offered. This shows that the primary interest in this college is based on factors other than academic major offerings, such as a learning environment that supports Unificationist marriage and family traditions and affordability.
3) Providing opportunities for students to develop a range of professional skills such as communications and public speaking, financial literacy, management competencies, etc. in contexts outside the classroom could be a highly attractive feature for the college.
4) Overall the study suggests that at least 65% of the total 650 Unificationist families in the target market would consider Barrytown College as an option for college attendance for one or more of their children. Another source of demographic information on Unificationist 2nd Generation children born in the United states identifies 1,767 who will turn 18 from 2012 – 2016 or 350 per year. If 28% of this group are similarly “definitely interested” and another 28% are “interested,” it is projected that 42% (all of the “definitely interested” and half of the “interested”) would likely be interested in applying to Barrytown College. It is reasonable to expect approximately 150 applicants per year with a projected 70% accepted, resulting in 100 students accepted for admission per year. Of those admitted, it is expected that 50 would attend in Barrytown College each year. This estimate is supported by the findings from all three studies. If an initial high quality program was priced competitively, Barrytown College would likely be able to admit a class of 50-60 students from Unificationist families living in America per year for the first five years.
 Board member Dr. Anthony Guerra, founder and chairman of My College Advisor, a college admissions consulting business, estimates enrollment to be 40-50 American students per year. He explains that he arrived at that by multiplying the 350 students turning 18 each year by 56% (“definitely interested” and “interested”) thus equaling 196 students. Assuming that only 40% of them complete applications we arrive at 78 applicants. With 100% acceptance and at a 60% yield that would lead to 47 enrolled students. A slightly lower acceptance leads to 40 enrolled students per year. He suggests looking for 10 or more additional students from other sources, either international or from families that may not be counted where only one parent is a member, etc.