Alumni Association releases results of latest national Alumni Opinion Survey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Alumni Association today (Feb. 18) released an update of its national survey of alumni — the fifth such survey commissioned since 2012 — which shows a steady increase in core metrics including pride in and connection to Penn State. 

Among key survey findings, 87 percent of alumni said they feel positively toward their alma mater, up 5 percentage points since May 2012, with 86 percent indicating they are willing to advocate on behalf of the University. Pride and connection to Penn State also remain strong, according to the research. Notably, 76 percent of alumni indicated they have a strong sense of pride in their Penn State degree. 

“It’s important that we continue to proactively gauge the connection our alumni have to their Alumni Association and their alma mater,” said Alumni Association President Kevin R. Steele, a 1992 Penn State graduate. “This survey offers us a lens through which we can better understand what our alumni think as we work together to support the University and engage the wider Penn State community.”

Alumni also want Penn State to maintain its academic excellence, even if it requires a tuition increase. Sixty-seven percent of respondents indicated it’s more important to maintain quality, even if that means tuition increases of 1-2 percent to keep up with inflation. Additionally, the survey results show that Penn State’s net promoter score — the degree to which alumni say they would recommend the University to prospective undergraduates and others — is exceptionally strong at plus-59, an increase of nine points since 2012.

“The strength of Penn State alumni and their clear commitment to quality and excellence in education and all endeavors is remarkable, and clearly evident in this survey,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “These attributes, along with our alumni’s expressed support for the University’s mission and priorities, will help propel us forward to even greater heights. The alumni feel the University is moving in the right direction, and I couldn’t agree more. We are partners in progress.”

The Alumni Association routinely surveys alumni to better understand views and opinions, quantify engagement, and benchmark historical trends. Research for this latest survey was conducted in December 2015 by the market research firm StrategyOne.

Other survey findings include:

Seventy-six percent of alumni surveyed feel that Penn State is headed in the right direction, an increase of 5 percent over 2014. Alumni cite quality education and diverse curricula as top reasons.

Fifty-one percent of alumni have been following news about the elimination of NCAA sanctions very closely. Those following recent events largely feel more positively about Penn State.

Twenty-three percent of alumni are closely following Barron’s presidency, with his priorities of excellence and accessibility receiving the most recall among survey respondents.

To access the full survey results, go to

StrategyOne was commissioned by the Penn State Alumni Association to conduct a survey of alumni. The survey was conducted Dec. 4-28, 2015, using a mixed-mode data gathering. The Alumni Association provided a sample of 30,000 records, selected at random from among all alumni for whom a telephone number and/or email address was available. A total of 1,294 respondents completed the survey, with 936 completing it online and 358 on the phone. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.72 percent in 95 out of 100 cases. 

About the Alumni Association
Established in 1870, the Penn State Alumni Association serves more than 177,000 members and 645,000 alumni worldwide. Its mission is to connect alumni to the University and to each other; provide valued services to members; and support the University’s mission of teaching, research and service. For more information about the Penn State Alumni Association, visit

About StrategyOne Inc.
StrategyOne is an insights-driven strategic consulting firm owned by DJE Holding Inc. StrategyOne provides evidence-based stakeholder insights, analysis and media measurement to corporate, organizational and governmental clients globally. The firm specializes in reputation, branding and communications research. 

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Last Updated February 18, 2016