Studies show benefits of studying at Catholic universities – ZENIT

(ZENIT News – St. Mary’s University / San Antonio, TX, 07/10/2024).- A comprehensive new study challenges the current narrative about the value of higher education. It reveals that the benefits of a college education go far beyond financial gains, impacting the lives of graduates, providing them with a happier, stronger sense of direction, greater fulfillment and a sharper focus on moral decision-making.

This study, commissioned by St. Mary’s University and conducted by YouGov, shows how the educational experience in higher education, particularly at Catholic universities, is instrumental in preparing students not only for work but also for fulfilling and meaningful lives. This holistic approach to learning nurtures essential life skills that contribute to graduates’ well-being and social engagement.

“I have witnessed firsthand how students learn and grow in the classroom for more than 20 years. Recently, I have become increasingly concerned that the national conversation about the value of higher education has been reduced to a single metric: earnings potential,” said Dr. Jason King, director of the Beirne Center for Catholic Studies and chair of Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s University. “We partnered with YouGov to examine the long-term impact of higher education on the whole student, not just their future earnings.”

Key study findings include:

  • Perfect perception of life and sense of direction:Graduates of Catholic universities are 10% more likely to say their lives are close to ideals and 9% more likely to have a clear sense of direction in life.
  • Social and community fulfillment:Catholic college graduates are 15% more likely to feel fulfilled in their social lives and 13% more likely to feel fulfilled in their community involvement.
  • Morality in decision-making:Catholic college graduates are 19% more likely to say that the various aspects of morality surveyed are extremely important in their decision-making.
  • No noticeable difference in surprising areas:Although Catholic universities have long advocated for supporting marriage and building faith-based resilience, no discernible differences have been observed between graduates of Catholic and secular universities when it comes to fulfillment in romantic relationships or resilience in the face of and after life’s setbacks.

“While the results on marriage and relationships may seem unexpected given the emphasis Catholicism places on these topics, they are consistent with the lack of consensus on Catholic campuses about best practices for approaching relationships,” King said. “More research is needed to determine whether some schools are having a positive impact and to understand the reasons behind their success.”

This research not only challenges the prevailing view that financial performance is the priority, but also highlights the enormous impact that educational institutions can have on broader aspects of a graduate’s life.

By demonstrating tangible benefits in personal development and societal contribution, the results argue for a reassessment of how we measure higher education success. It is clear that the impact extends far beyond the classroom, influencing individuals’ ethical frameworks, social interactions, and overall life satisfaction.

“Education is about more than earning potential. It should be about creating leaders, thinkers, and citizens who value and contribute to their communities,” said Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., president of St. Mary’s University.

St. Mary’s University continues to lead the way in incorporating these values ​​into its approach to education, providing students with ample opportunities to pursue their education.

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