Americans Believe Education Is More Important But Less Available

A joint study released earlier this week cited colliding trends in the American public's view of higher education. A college education is thought to be more necessary in today's workplace than ever before, but less available to potential students.

View Popular Schools

college availability

Squeeze Play 2010: Continued Public Anxiety On Cost, Harsher Judgments On How Colleges Are Run, a joint study from Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, surveyed 1,031 adults aged 18 and over between December 9 and December 13, 2009. The survey asked participants to answer several pointed questions about higher education.

According to the study, 55% of those surveyed believe higher education is absolutely necessary for success in the workforce. This number has increased dramatically since 2000, when only 31% felt that a college degree was necessary.

Opinion 2009(%) 2007(%) 2003(%) 2000(%)
College education is necessary 55% 50% 37% 31%
College education is not necessary 43% 49% 61% 67%
Don't Know 2% 1% 2% 3%

Source: Squeeze Play 2010: Continued Public Anxiety On Cost, Harsher Judgments On How Colleges Are Run

Although the majority of those surveyed said they believe higher education is necessary for success, they also feel that it is becoming less and less available to qualified students. A whopping 69% shared the opinion that potential students do not have access to higher education.

This line of thinking can be directly related to the rising cost of tuition as well as the belief that colleges care more about their bottom line than they do about the students' educational experience.

Squeeze Play Study Image

Source: Squeeze Play 2010: Continued Public Anxiety On Cost, Harsher Judgments On How Colleges Are Run

Colleges and universities often argue that they need more money to increase the number of accepted students or the quality of education, but six out of ten survey participants disagree, saying that institutes of higher education could accept more students without raising prices or lowering education quality.

More Colliding Trends

Despite the concerns about rising tuition and business-oriented schools, the vast majority of survey participants (90%) felt it was either 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' that their child would go to college. This number was up 4% from 2007.

squeeze play survey question

Source: Squeeze Play 2010: Continued Public Anxiety On Cost, Harsher Judgments On How Colleges Are Run

Sixty-two percent of those surveyed also felt that almost anyone who needs financial help to go to college can get loans or financial aid. At the same time, eight of ten survey participants agreed that students have to borrow to much to pay for their higher education.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?