August 9, 2023
In recent years, colleges have been fretting over a grim trend: Americans are rapidly losing confidence in higher education. A new report offers a slightly better outlook: Most people still say that higher ed is worth the cost.
That’s what the think tank New America found in its annual Varying Degrees report, released on Wednesday. Among the 1,500 adults surveyed, a majority said they believe higher education is worth the investment. Eighty-five percent endorsed that view for community colleges; two-thirds said the same of four-year colleges.
“Americans say they’re not happy with higher education in the U.S., but it’s also clear that they see the benefits that higher education can bring to themselves, individually in society, and to the communities they live in,” said Sophie Nguyen, a senior policy analyst with New America’s education policy program and the study’s lead author.
Such gains don’t require a four-year degree, Nguyen said. Even with a certificate or an associate degree, respondents said they believe individuals will experience lower rates of unemployment and contribute more to society.