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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

November 1, 2004

Survey offers snapshot of Sacramento State students

College students can be hard to define, but that doesn’t stop the Office of Institutional Studies from trying.

The office’s latest Student Needs and Priorities Survey, or SNAPS, completed late last year, found that students are fond of their faculty, increasingly diverse and usually work part-time. They also picked Sacramento State as their first choice in a university.

Photo of students walking through campus
STUDENT’S CHOICE—The University appears on its way to meeting its goal of becoming a “destination campus.” In the most recent Student Needs and Priorities Survey, or SNAPS, 74 percent of students said Sacramento State was their first or only choice in a university.

And the perennial parking complaint continued. It was identified as the most important support service by students, but given one of the lowest ratings—only 12 percent calling it excellent or good. That’s down from 15 percent in 1999 and 22 percent in 1994.

In questions about instructional factors, 75 percent of students gave high marks (excellent or good) to the “quality of instruction.” Fully 79 percent gave that rating to faculty preparation and 74 percent to faculty enthusiasm for teaching. They were least happy with the availability of classes and the convenience of class scheduling, with just 30 percent rating those as good or excellent.

About 40 percent of the responding students considered themselves multi-ethnic, up from 33 percent in 1999, while one-third spoke a language other than English while they were growing up.

Nearly three-quarters of students work, with 7 percent working on campus, and they spend an average of 25 hours on the job each week. Another 13 percent said they were unemployed but looking for work.

The SNAPS survey is given to help the University serve students better by getting a better understanding of their perceptions, experiences and needs.

It was previously given throughout the California State University system every four years, with the last one given in 1999. Due to lack of funding, the system decided to discontinue the survey. But Sacramento State moved forward with its own survey because so much of the information gathered through it is used for strategic planning and institutional assessment.

The findings are based on surveys returned by 951 students – 61 percent of those who received the survey.

Among other findings from the most recent SNAPS survey:

  • 74 percent of students said Sacramento State was their first or only choice in a university.
  • 29 percent have dependents and 62 percent live within a half-hour of campus.
  • Students spend an average of 6.8 hours a week studying on campus, 1 hour on campus for organized campus activities and 2 hours on campus socializing.
  • Most students were interested in working with faculty on research or creative activities, but just 18 percent have done so.
  • Students said the most difficult coursework activities were oral presentations, term papers and formulating a research question.
  • Support services that received the highest ratings include student health, library, bookstore, and computing resources.

More campus statistical information is available by contacting the Office of Institutional Research at 278-6566 or visiting


California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •