Changes in their personal lives, financial problems and work schedules are
main reasons students leave UT before completing a degree, a survey
shows.

Eighty percent of former students surveyed said they were "satisfied" or
"very satisfied" with their UT experience.

"This satisfaction level is reflected in that 88 percent of respondents who
were willing to recommend (the university) to a friend," said Don
Scroggins, assistant director of institutional research.

Thirty percent of non-returning students left because of changes in their
personal lives. Financial problems plagued 17 percent, and 11 percent left
because of work schedules.

Not doing well in classes, unhappiness with academic programs, changes in
family status and completion of needed course work were cited by less than
10 percent.

Five percent said inability to get courses, health problems, and lack of
social life affected their decision to leave.

Almost a quarter of former students were satisfied with the variety of
classes offered; 23 percent with instructors and staff. Meeting new people
and friends proved satisfying to 18 percent.

Inaccessibility of faculty and advisers, both in class and outside of
class, was rated 2.6 on a four-point scale on average by non-returning
students.

"These ratings may suggest that non-returning students perceive instruction
and classroom management to be good, but they are less pleased with their
availability to interact with their teachers," Scroggins said.

Almost 40 percent said they knew no faculty member well enough to ask for a
letter of recommendation, up from 23 percent with no faculty acquaintance
in 1993.

"Since these students have not obtained degrees, it follows that many have
not had sufficient time on campus to establish faculty ties," Scroggins
said.

Sixty-six percent of this sample of non-returning students worked while at
UT, compared with 52 percent of returning undergraduates.

Simplifying the financial aid process, improving advising services and
strengthening student-teacher communications were suggested as improvements
by less than 10 percent of respondents.

UT officials sent the survey last fall to 1,634 former students, both full-
and part-time, who were eligible for readmission. A total of 506 students
returned the questionnaires.