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Vibeffect Index Reveals 1:5 Students are High Thrivers in U.S. Colleges

College Optimizer Index measures thriving across academic, social and individual dimensions

Washington, D.C. (July 21, 2015) – vibeffect, a family-centered college-decision framework that helps students identify campuses where they’re most likely to thrive, today announced the inaugural results of its College Optimizer Index (COI), an indicator designed to measure consumer confidence across the nation’s 4-year colleges. The COI defines thriving as “When a student experiences the maximum benefits from a specific college ecosystem, and demonstrates this by heightened academic and social integration, and a deeper sense of happiness.”

Data from the COI offers an unprecedented opportunity for the consumer to consider the qualitative aspects of more than 100 features found in colleges across the U.S. While most college research focuses on quantitative aspects of the college experience, industry thought leaders are increasingly searching for qualitative data that provides insight into the quality of the education received, as well as student outcomes.

In the COI, the qualitative aspects of specific college and university ecosystems are taken into consideration for the first time in order to help students identify where they’re most likely to thrive.

“When it comes to investing in college, most students focus on admissions and whether or not they’ll be accepted,” said Elena M. Cox, CEO of vibeffect. “We challenge young people to put equal or more emphasis on understanding where they will grow, thrive, and complete their degree. We created the Index as a benchmark of student thriving that would give us the objective information needed to guide families towards a more thoughtful college decision.”

Based on the data collected in 2015, the results show that a majority of students are thriving within their respective college environments, but there is room for improvement. While most are thriving medium-high (36 percent), there are just as many low-thrivers as there are high-thrivers (19 percent). Results also show that there are fewer differences in a student's likelihood to thrive when considering demographic and socio- economic factors. For example:

  Men and women are high-thrivers at nearly equivalent rates (two out of ten).

  Low-income students are equally likely to be in high-thriving and low-thriving categories. 

  Low-income, first-generation and community college transfer students are more likely than the general population to be high thrivers.

  Socioeconomic differences between students does not negatively impact the probability of a low-income student thriving in college.

  One-quarter (25 percent) of students from families earning $150,000 or more are high-thrivers.

Data collected is a result of the 2014 and 2015 Survey of College Students and Recent Graduates conducted by vibeffect and managed by Greenwald & Associates. Respondents were given a survey about their college experience satisfaction, college attributes, student types, learning resources, course of study and more. In total, 3,600 households were interviewed representing nearly 1,000 four-year colleges and universities.

To view the results and an infographic summarizing some key findings of the College Optimizer Index, visit To learn more about vibeffect, visit

About vibeffect
vibeffect is a college-decision framework that uses predictive analytics to deliver unbiased, data-driven results that help families make confident investments in higher education. The system’s purpose is to ensure families base their college decision on their child’s strengths and the best college eco-system for their academic, social and individual thriving. For more information, visit 

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