Poll Of Vermonters Finds That Most Are Aware Of University’s Presence And Impact

A statewide poll conducted by the Center for Rural Studies shows that Vermont citizens have a consistently positive view of the University of Vermont across a variety of areas. A report on the poll is available at the Center for Rural Studies Website at crs.uvm.edu. The poll asked respondents to rate UVM in areas ranging from the university’s academic quality to the benefit it offers to citizens outside Chittenden County. In each of seven areas but one, more than 70 percent of respondents put UVM in the top two categories of the ranking scale. For instance, 79.8 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the University of Vermont helps economic development and job growth in Vermont. 81.2 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I would encourage a child or a close relative to attend the University of Vermont.” 87.8 percent of respondents ranked the educational experience offered by UVM as good or excellent. 71.8 percent agreed or strongly agreed that UVM offers a good value for the educational experience it offers. A geographical statement, “The University benefits areas outside Chittenden County,” prompted 77.2 percent to agree or strongly agree, a finding that was not influenced by the region from which respondents came. The one question where responses dipped below 70 percent for the top two categories of response related to UVM’s party school image, although answers still conveyed a favorable impression. 64.6 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that UVM is doing a good job of moving away from its old image as a party school. “When given a chance to express their opinions, it appears that the vast majority of Vermonters have a positive impression of the University and its impact on the state,” said Jane Kolodinsky, co-director of the Center for Rural Studies and chair of UVM’s Department of Community Development and Applied Economics. There were almost no statistically significant differences in answers when respondents were subcategorized by the demographic categories of sex, region, income, or education, or by whether or not they had children, a highly unusual result for opinion polls. “The uniform nature of the results across demographic categories is further evidence that UVM has widespread favorability among Vermonters,” said Kolodinsky. “There are no strong demographic pockets pulling the averages up and skewing the results.” There were two exceptions to this general rule: Fewer Vermonters whose family income in less than $20,000 agreed that UVM is a good value (71.9 percent) than those who make $20,000 or more (82.6 percent). And more Vermonters with less than a Bachelors degree believe that UVM helps economic development and job growth (82.6 percent) than those who have a Bachelors degree or greater (75 percent). The Vermonter Poll, of which the UVM research was a part, is conducted annually by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies. Six-hundred-and-forty-one randomly selected telephone interviews were conducted between February 7 and March 5, 2003. The margin of error is 4 percent.Table 7: How favorably do you think the University of Vermont compares to state universities in other states? Frequency PercentVery favorably 107 18.7Favorably 320 55.9Neither favorably 92 16.1 nor unfavorablyUnfavorably 50 8.7Very unfavorably 3 0.5Total 572 100.0Table 8: What is your impression of the quality of the educational experience offered by the University of Vermont? Frequency PercentExcellent 148 26.0Good 352 61.8Fair 64 11.2Poor 6 1.1Total 570 100.0Table 1: The University of Vermont Helps Economic Development and Job Growth in Vermont. Frequency PercentStrongly agree 94 15.2Agree 399 64.6Neither agree 69 11.2 nor disagreeDisagree 51 8.3Strongly disagree 5 0.8Tota 618 100.0Source: Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont,