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Gallup Survey Shows Shifting Views on Value of College Education

Lumina FoundationNearly all Americans now think having a college education is important, according to a new Gallup survey, conducted on behalf of the Lumina Foundation.

The results of the survey, which included more than 1,000 individuals ages 18 and older, found that about 97 percent of the nation’s population believe post-high school education is “at least somewhat important to a person’s financial security.”

Additionally, about 67 percent of respondents said obtaining a “good job” hinged on post-high school education. About 65 percent of respondents stated that the potential to earn a higher wage was a significant reason to attend college.

Respondents without college degrees or certificates were asked if they had thought about returning to school. Of those, 21 percent said they were “very likely” to return to classes, while 45 percent of respondents said that they strongly believed they would feel more secure about their finances if they had college degrees or certifications.

Nearly half of those who participated in the survey, some 46 percent, believe higher education in the United States is better than in other countries, while 38 percent believe the quality of higher education in the nation is better than it has been in the past.

However, nearly three-quarters of respondents strongly believed higher education was unaffordable in the United States, and nearly three-out-of-five respondents stated that institutions should decrease tuition costs and additional fees. About 38 percent of respondents wanted more state assistance for college students, while 40 percent believed more assistance should be provided by the federal government. Nearly half of respondents said companies should provide more college aid to their employees.

“Americans indicate they are ready for a redesign in the mechanisms for delivering and awarding higher education certificates and other high-quality degrees,” the report concludes. “The findings of this study suggest that Americans are open to new ways to make higher education attainment accessible and affordable for all.”

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