Tag Archives: college students

E-books: The End Of An Era?


It’s been almost a decade since the first e-book reader was introduced to the marketplace, sending publishers into a panic over the future of print. Readers transitioned to new digital devices; e-book sales escalated, and bookstores struggled to stay open. Now, the digital landscape for books has shifted from e-Books back to print. For the first time in history, e-book sales are declining. The Association of American Publishers released a report in June of 2016 that shows e-book sales declining by nearly 25% from January 2015 to January 2016. While the digital landscape continues to evolve, some things are just not catching on. Digital book sales are losing their momentum and the digital trend is not transcending when it comes to how millennials are reading. Unexpectedly, the most technologically savvy generation in the United States is returning to print.


Digital reading devices such the Kindle once tried to convert book lovers to digital binge readers. However, digital natives like college students still prefer reading on paper. According to a recent study conducted by American University linguistics professor Noami S. Baron, the study shows that 92% of college students would rather do their reading the old-fashioned way –  with pages and not tablets. The question remains, why have students made such a notorious shift from digital to print? Despite the mobility of the e-book, which would seem appealing to college students, they are still opting to carry around heavy textbooks even with their on-the-go lifestyles. Millennials spend more time in front of screens than previous generations, so e-books would seemingly fit right in; However, numerous studies have shown that when reading digitally, some content is lost due to skimming from screen to screen.  This is where comprehension suffers, since distraction on electronic devices is practically inevitable.

Aside from the increasing distraction on devices, students are relying on paper books because they are less delicate than tablets. Water spills or accidental drops can severely damage devices, or in some cases ruin them forever.The cost of replacing an e-reader like a Kindle or an iPad is much higher than replacing a book.  Print books provide students with the flexibility of having information at hand without constantly worrying about  technological malfunctions. Some students prefer print books because they are able to turn the page in a book; this makes reading more enjoyable for them.

For a moment, e-books provided cost effective alternatives for struggling college students. The minimal discounts on e-book prices in comparison to their print versions have students opting for the paperback version, which can be resold or lent from other students. Another benefit is that students are able to rent textbooks from their campus bookstores that are already highlighted and have notes in the margins. These provide students with additional tools that cannot be found in e-book versions.Unfortunately, technological advances have influenced faculty and publishing houses to push students into digital devices. Around the country, educational institutions are buying millions of digital devices promising lower costs, more textbook updates, and less back pain from heavy backpacks. Despite the versatility and interactivity e-books provide, there has been little considerations for educational consequences.

Nine years later, the technological revolution has decreased in the e-book market. It is interesting to see how e-readers almost changed the publishing landscape and how the introduction of a new device almost vanished the earliest form of mass communication – print. The decline in e-book sales portrays how technological advances follow a product life cycle. A trend can come or go but if there is something substantial it can succeed in the market. It is still early to predict what the future holds for e-books,  but as the digital landscape continues to evolve, the complete end of e-books is not yet to come.

Alumni Series: Health Trends (Part 1)

qSample and Alumni Reader Panel conducted a survey to discover health related trends of alumni of top national universities (please refer to the previous blog post for details regarding demographics). The findings from this survey will be divided into two blog segments:

Part 1. Basic preventive health measures/healthy lifestyle

Part 2. Spending habits on healthcare

According to a 2016 study by Mayo Clinic Proceedings, less than 3% of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle”. In order to qualify as living a healthy lifestyle, following four requirements must be met: moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, a diet score in the top 40% on the Healthy Eating Index, a body fat % under 20 for men or 30 for women, and not smoking. Unfortunately, survey respondents were not aware of the qualifications set by Mayo Clinic, rather they were asked to answer best to their knowledge. Chart below reveals their knowledge and awareness of healthy lifestyle:


Average of 62.7% of the respondents either have some degree of expertise or are trusted from peers with advice on health-related issue. Moreover, in the survey, 74.1% agreed that they are constantly looking for new ways to live a healthier life. Following three charts confirm that majority of the respondents do indeed take preventive health measures (diet, exercise, and regular check-ups):

eatt habits

reg ex

reg check

In summary, 88.1% follow a healthy diet, 75.2% follow a regular exercise routine, and 84.8% visit the doctor for regular check-ups.




College Students And Their Views On The Future [Infographic]

College graduates celebrating by throwing hats in the air


Comedian George Burns famously said, “I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”

College students are taking Burn’s advice, it seems, focusing on the future with an attentive, pragmatic yet positive eye. They want successful careers more than anything, care little about popularity, and social media is not the great democratizer but just another neutral avenue in life.

These are the findings from qSample’s latest study, presented here in an infographic. The study was conducted using our college student sample, surveying more than 200 participants on a range of social and economic topics. Respondents were accessed from our Campus Universe initiative—regularly utilized for varied studies for both academics and businesses by clients. The findings can also be found in our post College Students Optimistic About Economic Future.

The qSample research should give hope for the country’s future (and certainly relevant with graduation season around the corner). Millennials spend $600 million a year in the U.S. alone, with some estimates having them reach $3 billion in a decade as they dominate the labor force. Therefore, the economy should be in good hands, unless these graduates are hamstrung with student debt and not enough salary growth.

Please enjoy our infographic and please enjoy spending the rest of your life in the future:


Colleget Students and their view of the future


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New Study Shows College Students Optimistic About Economic Future

Smiling college students during graduation


It is said youth is wasted on the young. According to a new qSample study, could it also mean that optimism is wasted on the young?

The answer is probably no, for college students have a focused, sober eye on economic issues and their incoming position in the workplace. Regardless of relatively uncertain economic and political times—that include student debt and soaring tuition—University students are mostly hopeful for their financial future.

The study was conducted using qSample’s college student sample, surveying more than 200 respondents on a range of social and economic topics. We surveyed respondents from our Campus Universe initiative—regularly utilized for varied studies for both academics and businesses.


College Student Views on Careers and the Economy



When asked about the future of the economy, 34% of college students held a positive view. Twenty-eight percent expressed a negative view, with 27% stating they were undecided. When asked how they would fare economically in comparison to their parents, 35% of respondents felt they would do better—with 29% feeling they would do worse and 12% not sure.

When asked about the most important issues of their times, here is how they responded:

1.  The economy/job growth – 29%
2.  Education reform/college debt relief – 25%
3.  Climate change – 23%
4.  Freedom/individual rights -14%
5.  Terrorism – 6%

College students also view the economy as the key issue when it comes to the upcoming presidential election:

1.  The economy – 43%
2.  Racial/equality issues – 26%
3.  National security – 13%
4.  Abortion/reproductive rights – 8%




College Student and Debt



One might think that college debt would be more at the forefront of the minds of college students. After all, the study revealed that a majority (25%) would owe between $50,001 and $75,000 once they graduated. Eighteen percent say they will owe less than $25,000 after graduating while 24% claimed they would owe no debt. Ten percent of college students stated they would owe more than $100,000 after graduation.

In a past qSample study, more than 30% of college students anticipated their loans to be paid off in 5-10 years, while 27% were unsure. Sixty-seven percent considered their amount of debt manageable, with the remaining students worried that their debt would become unmanageable amount.

In fact, 31% of participants indicated they worry “all the time” about the amount of debt are incurring while pursuing a higher education. Forty-eight percent of the college students worry “sometimes” and 21% “never” worry about their ability to repay their student loans.

One could surmise that college students are fixated on making enough money to show their debt was an investment. After all, it’s all business after graduation, according to the qSample findings. An overwhelming 71% of college students said their priority after graduation is finding work. Activism, relationship, traveling and other post-university goals all registered below ten percent in interest.


College Students and Social Issues



It’s not all Yuppiedom for college students. These are the rankings on how they would like to be viewed once leaving higher education:

1.  A good moral/ethical person – 37%
2.  Ability to make money – 29%
3.  An activist for social change – 13%
4.  A good spouse – 6%
5.  A social person with close friends – 5%
6.  A good father/mother – 3%

But who do college students look up to as they migrate into the workforce? When it comes to public figures, President Obama comes in first (35%) and Pope Francis in second (17%). All other public figures or celebrities scored less than ten percent, with the exception of Steve Jobs at 11% (who is no longer alive).

As for social media, the below graphic reveals college student attitudes towards social media in relation to society:






With a mind on money and a positive heart, the research should give hope to the country’s future. Millennials spend $600 million a year in the U.S. alone, with some estimates having them reach $3 billion in a decade as they begin to dominate the workforce. Thus, the economy should be in good hands, unless these graduates are hamstrung with the student debt and not enough salary growth.


Please enjoy our infographic below, based on our syndicated research on College Students and Stress:


College students and stress


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Millennials And Boomers: Two Sides Of The Same Marketing Coin


Millennials and Boomers. Two demographics separated by an ocean of time and the icebergs of Generation X. No way in this or any galaxy far away they could be similar.

Think again. Beyond the reality that both groups have a population nearing 77 million, they are oddly very similar. In fact, think hard again since Millennials and Boomers are two powerful consumer groups (as will be shown) whom deciphering could be a millennium boom for marketers.

As a company that manages both Millennial and Boomer panels for online research, we’ve noticed their similarities, and we are not alone.


Social Media and Technology



For starters, it’s no secret that Millennials are the sultans of social media. Yet qSample’s primary research reveals that Boomers are becoming extremely passionate about their Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. They may not dig Snapchat like Millennials, but more than 27 million Boomers possess a social media account (and other data claims that 65% of Boomers have a Facebook account). When it comes to smartphones, Millennials win this game, as approximately 85% own a mobile device (only 47% of Baby Boomers own a smartphone, but they’re catching up).


diblert comic strip


Someone who has extensively analyzed both Millennials and Boomers is Sara Bamossy, a strategic planning director for Saatchi & Saatchi LA. She explains, “Both generations value technology. Sure there’s been a delay in Boomers adapting, but they are.”

The difference, according to Bamossy, is that Boomers are more careful and less organic when it comes to technology, but in the end just as embracing.


Social Issues and Transformation



Where Millennials and Boomers truly connect is in their altruism. Yes, both generations are lambasted for being egotistical, hence the titles of the “Me” and “Selfie” generations. That’s more of a myth, though. Our research has shown that Baby Boomers are extremely socially-conscious. As an illustration, 89% of Baby Boomers want to improve energy dependence while 84% feel it’s important to use green energy. As we’ve also reported, Millennials are just as socially-conscious, to the point it deeply influences their buying decisions.

Here is more information on Boomers and green technology:

boomers & green4

Beyond our data, here are some other similarities between Millennials and Boomers:

–  Both are deeply informed by the opinions of their family and friends (unlike Gen Xers, who just don’t care).
–  Both are loyal to the brands of their parents or family.
–  Both tend to be frugal, enjoying the thrill of bargain hunting and showrooming.

As for politics and civics, Millennials and Boomers are somewhat different (beyond the fact that one demographic looks like Bernie Sanders while the other supports him). This chart from the National Conference of Citizenship offers their differences when it comes to civic engagement:


millennial baby boomer political engagement


Why The Similarities?



One could draw parallels of Millennials and Boomers from the societal events in their respective times:

–  Both grew up in strong economic times (the 50s for Boomers, early 2000s for Millennials).
–  Both grew up during questionable wars and shadowy enemies (Vietnam War/Communism for Boomers, the Iraq War/Terrorism for Millennials).
–  Both face seemingly corrupt governments and financial institutions (too many to mention here).
–  Both, for some reason, possess nicknames that originate with the counterculture movement of underground Jazz and drugs, the beatnik worlds of Kerouac and Ginsberg (Hippy for Boomers and Hipster for Millennials). Yet both have a strong tendency to act more like Yuppies when it comes to careers.

These reasons are just speculation. In the end, this is subject for anthropologists and social scientists. When it comes to marketing research, what is most relevant is that both Millennials and Boomers are powerful consumer blocs. Boomers annually spend $3 trillion in the U.S. alone, while Millennials spend $600 million (but some estimates have them matching Boomers within the next decade). Both groups dominate 70% of disposable income.





Perhaps it would be wise for qualitative researchers to find out why Boomers and Millennials are similar in their spending habits. This would go a long way in streamlining marketing efforts, provide rich Venn Diagrams that could save budgets in advertising campaigns.

Hopefully, as the world caters to the dollars of Millennials and Boomers, someone will leave Gen Xers with some crumbs, like a few Nirvana albums or plaid shirts.


All About Millennials

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Infographic of the Week: The Power of Millennials

In our recent Are Millennials Ruining the World? we had a little fun with public perception and our primary research gleaned from qSample’s college student and millennial panels.

No, millennials are not ruining the world but they will come close to being the world, as revealed by this week’s friendly neighborhood infographic.

Here are just some of the amazing takeaways on millennials:

 Expected to reach $200 billion in spending by 2017, the largest consumer generation in U.S. History.
– 85% own smartphones.
 One-fourth speaks a language other than English at home.
– 77 million, making up approximately one-fourth of the U.S. population.

They’re everywhere, and they are very plugged-in to their mobile devices – something qSample is very aware of as we specialize in mobile research. No matter where you are in market research, you might want to get plugged into millennials because sooner or later you will fall into their web.

But Nuff said, as Stan Lee would say. Here is the Millennial selfie:

All About Millennials

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Infographic of the Week: College Students & Stress

Everyone has a lot of stress and stress is damaging to our health. That’s a great trope in our culture.

It’s not entirely true, though. Or as Mike Myers, in his famous incarnation of Linda Richman in Coffee Talk, might say: “Stress is neither in everyone nor that stressful.”

That and today’s college culture is addressed in this week’s infographic, from our primary research found in Are College Students More Stressed Out Than Ever?  Youth may be wasted on the young, but college is perhaps wasted on those who are about to get schooled by the workforce. In between, we find some insights on Millennials, undergraduate habits, and stress in general…with our comical comic-book infographic.


College students and stress

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Are Millennials Ruining The World?

Those darn young people are at it again, ruining everything! If it weren’t for you meddling kids, the rest of the world could get away with being successful.

At least that seems to be the attitude these days—as continuous stories emerge carping about Millennials (or Generation Y). They’re lazy, entitled, selfish. We at qSample are not entirely beyond that, even if it’s with sound data, demonstrated in our article Millennials and Holiday Shopping:

A recent study from Hanover research reveals that that millennials live and shop in the moment, often making purchases and dealing with the repercussions later. The study also shows that 52% of Millennials were more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation.

The apex of this collective Millennial buffaloing might have been the piece in a May issue of Time, entitled The Me, Me, Me Generation.

The article wasn’t exactly flattering, and it’s illustrated by its cover provided below—with the selfie as the perennial symbol of the alleged narcissism of Millennials:

Time cover with millennial taking a selfie









But it is true? Many Millennials would disagree. Tech Marketer Scott Hogan is one of them. He pushed back in an insightful LinkedIn Pulse article, detailing how Millennials are actually responsible members of the commercial and cultural ecosystems. Some of his evidence included:

Millennials are more prone to support socially-responsible products (like Tom’s Shoes and other brands that actively support charities and environmental causes).
Millennials are expected to reach $200 billion in spending by 2017, the largest consumer generation in U.S. History.
– Millennials are the masters of technology, which will make them the best possible members of the workforce.

So who’s right?

In the end, probably both viewpoints. It’s a matter of perspective.

No way, some in the older generations will insist, barking that it began with the hippy-sell-outs-turned-yuppies; and it just keeps getting worse with each decade. Millennials are the culmination of too much spoiling and touchy-feely psychology. They are an unprecedented threat to western culture, the end of history!

No, no…it really is a matter of perspective. There is nothing new under the sun, as seen by this quote:

The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no respect for their parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone know everything and what passes for wisdom in us foolishness in them. As for the girls, they are foolish and immodest and unwomanly in speech, behavior and dress.

—Peter the Hermit, eleventh century AD

If you still feel we haven’t gone back enough to the “good old days,” how about this:

Our young men have grown slothful. There is not a single honorable occupation for which they will toil night and day. They sing and dance and grow effeminate and curl their hair and learn womanish tricks of speech; they are as languid as women and deck themselves out with unbecoming ornaments. Without strength, without energy, they add nothing during life to the gifts with which they were born—then they complain of their lot.

― Seneca, first century AD

Wow, looks like the ancient Romans had their own hippies and selfies and overall belfie attitude…at least in the view of the “real” grownups.
But it had to do with that immoral Roman Empire, right? Instead, the birthplace of Democracy and Reason possessed the blueprint for a healthy society. Not so fast! Look at this quote by arguably the greatest thinker in history:

The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.

― Socrates, 5th century BC

We can go back even farther to one of the fathers of poetry:

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.

― Hesiod, 8th century BC

Guess the ancient Greek whippersnappers were constantly wasting their lives on marble versions of Snapchat and Instagram, impulsively buying real Amazons instead of shopping at Amazon like Millennials do today.

Fine, we older ones might admit, but at some point in society the younger generations were restrained and dutiful, in a time of steely kings and primitive habits.

Sorry to disappoint, but no:

Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching.

― Assyrian Clay Tablet, 2800 BC

Sheesh…ancient forms of Y2K or a Mayan Apocalypse, surely caused by a bratty younger generation. If only Kindle could go back in time to assist all those people wanting to write books! The horror!

I hope you see my point. Millennials aren’t the problem and they are—because they are part of the natural cycle of societal evolution. In the end, the Time article does agree with Hogan: Millennials will ultimately leave a beneficial footprint on this era (just as earlier generations did during their heyday). Millennials will leave their mark, mostly positive and partly negative. Regardless, the world will not end because of them, as it didn’t during Assyrian times.

Millennials will surely complain about the generation that follows, even if they happen to be on a base on Mars…or in a future article of Time.

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Are College Students More Stressed Out Than Ever? (qSample Study)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.

This famous quote by Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities, has been applied to many periods and demographics of western society. It surely seems appropriate to our college days—that intense period of personality formation and testing that paves the way for so many futures.

To qSample, understanding college students (and millennials) is vital; it is one of our propriety panels that serves many of our clients. Our Campus Universe initiative is utilized for varied studies from both academics and businesses. After all, Millennials are expected to reach $200 billion in spending by 2017, with a total of more than $1.4 trillion in spending power. It will be the largest consumer generation in U.S. history. Beyond buyer muscle, today’s young adults will be our politicians, celebrities (beyond social media), and parents.

And right now they appear to be stressed out in their college role.


The Worst of Times?


Our recent study found that 65% of college students admit to being extremely stressed out during the semester/quarter. But what else is new, right? Or is it perhaps really new?

To find out, here are some of the other takeaways from the study conducted in early July, with a sample of more than 300 respondents:

When it comes to eating out for lunch, only 31% of respondents said this happened on a daily basis. 39% said they ate off campus once or twice a week, with 22% eating off campus once or twice a month. 15% claimed they never visited restaurants while the semester was in full swing.

Outside of leisurely eating, another tell-tale sign of college students coping with stress is the fuel intake that assists in managing limited time: caffeine. When asked about their daily consumption of caffeine (coffee, energy drinks, pills, etc.), this was the breakdown:

–  1-2 cups/doses: 52%
–  3-4 cups/doses: 15%
–  5+ cups/doses: 3%
–  Don’t consume caffeine 30%

Considering that the national coffee intake of the average adult is 3 to 4 cups a day, one could gather that college students are not exactly desperate for that extra energy to get an edge on daily tasks.

Furthermore, there exists the trope that college students play video games to manage stress, but that also doesn’t seem to be apparent. The study found that 56% of college students don’t play video games at all. Only five percent admitted to playing video games on a daily basis, with 38% playing a handful of times a month.


The Best of Times?


As for getting rest, college students seem to be enjoying enough of that in order to deal with higher education. 74% stated they get 5-7 hours of sleep a night, although only 15% are enjoying the classic eight hours of sleep. But the characteristic sleep-deprivation known in universities looks absent: only ten percent stated they get 2-4 hours a night.

The idea of being tied to chains to academia is also not present. 36% of college students admitted to going to see friends or family at least once a day, while 20% enjoy social events once or twice a week, and 28% are social once or twice a month. Only 16% find themselves only visiting friends or family during holidays or between semesters/quarters.

From this preliminary analysis of the study, it appears that college students are no more stressed out than older generations and today’s workforce. Perspective is everything, as they say. Being in the belly of the academic beast has always seemed like “the worst of time.” That is until sleep, friendship, and good food changes that to the “best of times.”

Social media seems to be a “best of times” aspect, a way to decompress for anyone in society. The study found these are the preferred social media channels for college students:

1. Facebook: 50%
2. Instagram: 22%
3. Snapchat: 12%
4. Twitter: 6%
5. Pinterest: 2%
6. LinkedIn: 2%

One can easily assume that the LinkedIn percentage will rise once they’re done with college…


The Age of Wisdom or Foolishness?


A last and interesting takeaway from the study is the preferred apps of college students during the semester/quarter: the smartphone camera app (25%). This could enforce the notion that college students are embedded in the Me, Me, Me Generation—that snide term branded to Millennials.

On the other hand, the second favorite app for college students was the weather app (24%). This may indicate they have the same preoccupation as those in the job pool as they negotiate the day. This is enforced by how map apps like Google Maps are in third (18%). They have places to go and weather to deal with.

Wherever they go, college students will definitely remember their “best/worst times” that is college, with both the belief and incredulity.

For those of us reminiscing about our college days, this is what we might be thinking right now: Where in the Dickens did all the time go?

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An Ivy League Of Their Own

What do 5 of the last 7 presidents and 100% of the Supreme Court Justices have in common?  They graduated from Ivy League universities.  Ivy League graduates are truly in a league of their own.  With a median household income of over $190,000 and a median net worth of $900,000, Ivies are a uniquely influential and affluent demographic, making them particularly appealing to marketers.

This November, the Ivy League Magazine Network and qSample teamed up to survey readers from the eight Ivy League Magazines. Partial results from the survey is depicted in the infographic below. The online study consists of data collected from more than 1500 survey participants. Each reader panel is comprised entirely of graduates from Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania and Yale.

Readers of the Ivy League Magazines find real value in the alumni publication, with over 85% indicating that the magazine has helped them to become successful.  The relationship of mutual respect between panelists and publication fosters high response rates and honest responses from participants.

Over 75% of respondents are active on social media.  Facebook and LinkedIn are the 2 most popular social media sites among participants, with 60% on Facebook and 56% on LinkedIn.  However, usage of social media varied from panel-to-panel with Brown Alumni more like to use Facebook 69%.

Giving back is important to the Ivy League Panel participants with 77% indicating that they volunteer in their community, while 43% do so on a regular basis.

Ivy League Magazine Panel respondents are both affluent and influential among peers in consumer spending categories such as personal technology, automobiles, travel and financial services.

Over the next 12 months, 76% of participants own or plan to purchase a smartphone and 70% own or plan to purchase a tablet computer.  Among smartphone users, iPhone and Android operating systems are the most popular operating systems with 63% of respondents using iPhones and 20% Android.

Ivy League Magazine Panel respondents have the real spending power to make luxury purchases such as high-end vehicles and international travel.  Over the next 12 months, 21% of respondents own or plan to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle and 34% own or plan to purchase a luxury automobile.

Panelists are frequent travelers with 99% of respondents planning to travel for either business or leisure within the United States this year.  Fifty-eight percent plan to travel to Europe, 17% to Asia and 20% plan to take a cruise.

With a median net worth of over $900,000, Ivy League Magazine readers strategically invest and protect their finances.  Over the next 12 months, 84% of respondents own or plan to invest in mutual funds, 80% own or plan to invest in stocks, 73% own or plan to purchase money market accounts and 71% own or plan to purchase life insurance.

In an Ivy League of their own, Ivy League Magazine Panel men and women have a uniquely affluent profile, difficult to find in any research panel.  The Ivy League survey is part of qSample’s EDU Intelligence series on educational research. The survey consists of more than 30 questions ranging from smart phone usage, financial investment, travel, philanthropy, social media, etc. To learn more about the EDU Intelligence series, email sales-team@qsample.com.