Butler University’s Institute for Well-Being recently conducted the Student Well-being for Institutional Support Survey (SWISS) during the 2021-22 academic year, collecting data from 25 institutions and 10,000 students. The survey aimed to evaluate how well colleges and universities support students’ well-being and provide actionable feedback for institutions to improve student well-being and outcomes.
The SWISS survey covered a wide range of topics, including academic supports, campus resources, diversity, equity, inclusion, purpose, and engagement. Students were asked about their experiences and perspectives on various aspects of well-being support on their campuses. The results of the survey shed light on both positive trends and areas of development for institutions.
One of the areas of development identified in the SWISS report is financial literacy education. Many students reported feeling unprepared to manage their finances, with limited knowledge about budgeting, loans, and credit. The report highlighted the need for institutions to provide more comprehensive financial literacy education and resources to help students make informed financial decisions during and after their college years.
Another area of development identified in the SWISS report is faculty support in academic goal-setting. Students expressed the importance of having faculty members who are engaged and supportive in helping them set and achieve their academic goals. The report emphasized the need for institutions to provide training and resources for faculty to better understand and support students in their academic pursuits.
Affordable housing was also identified as an area of development in the SWISS report. Many students reported struggling with the high costs of housing, both on and off-campus. The report suggested that institutions should explore ways to provide more affordable housing options for students, such as partnering with local housing authorities or developing affordable housing initiatives on campus.
Identity exploration was another area of development identified in the SWISS report. Students expressed the importance of having opportunities to explore their identities, including their cultural, racial, gender, and sexual identities. The report highlighted the need for institutions to create inclusive spaces and programming that promote identity exploration and understanding among students.
Religious and spiritual interest exploration was also identified as an area of development in the SWISS report. Students expressed the desire for more opportunities to explore their religious and spiritual beliefs on campus, including access to religious or spiritual spaces, programming, and resources. The report suggested that institutions should strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for students of all religious and spiritual backgrounds.
Social connections in residence halls were also highlighted as an area of development in the SWISS report. Many students reported feeling disconnected and lonely in their residence halls, which can negatively impact their overall well-being. The report emphasized the need for institutions to create opportunities for social connections in residence halls, such as organized events, programs, and spaces that foster a sense of community among students.
On the positive side, the SWISS report found several trends that are indicative of effective well-being support on college campuses. Academic advising was reported as a positive trend, with many students expressing satisfaction with the level of support they receive from their academic advisors. Exercise/fitness facilities were also reported as a positive trend, with students appreciating access to well-equipped fitness facilities on campus.
Internet access was another positive trend, with students acknowledging the importance of reliable internet access for their academic and personal needs. Peer engagement, including involvement in clubs and organizations, was also reported as a positive trend, with students valuing the opportunities for social and leadership development through peer engagement.
Moving forward, the SWISS survey will continue to analyze data by student characteristics to highlight areas of difference in student experiences. This will provide further insights into how different groups of students perceive and experience well-being support on college campuses, and help institutions tailor their efforts to meet the diverse needs of their student populations.