New poll shows that majority of Americans now think college degrees are not worth the cost: ‘Wake-up call’
According to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC poll, more than half of Americans don’t believe a college degree is worth the money anymore.
The survey conducted by the outlet and the University of Chicago’s NORC, a nonpartisan research organization, found that 56% of all Americans viewed getting a college degree as a bad investment.
A similar poll in 2017 revealed that only 47% of Americans balked at the idea of getting a college degree, and one done in 2013 had the disapproval rate at 40%.
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The Wall Street Journal explained that skepticism of getting a degree is strongest among young adults in the 18 to 34 age range. It found that “people with college degrees are among those whose opinions have soured the most, portending a profound shift for higher education in the years ahead.”
Though it noted that all age groups have grown disaffected toward college in the United States.
The exact breakdown of this latest poll shows that a decade later, public consensus on whether it’s worth getting a degree has almost flipped. In 2013, 53% of Americans favored the idea of getting one, while 40% did not.
The Wall Street Journal poll for 2023 shows that only 42% of Americans see a degree as a worthy investment, while again, 56% do not.
Experts, like American Council on Education President Ted Mitchell, find this to be bad news for the higher education industry.
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Mitchell told the outlet, “These findings are indeed sobering for all of us in higher education, and in some ways, a wake-up call. We need to do a better job at storytelling, but we need to improve our practice, that seems to me to be the only recipe I know of regaining public confidence.”
Mitchell pointed to the high level of student debt in the country as a catalyst for this negative view of college as well as the graduation rate of undergrads. The outlet noted that student debt has “reached $1.7 trillion” and that there is only a “60% graduation rate at four-year colleges.”
Interestingly, the poll found that Democrat voters, those with a college degree, and those “earning more than $100,000 a year” are the only groups in “which a slim majority held fast to their faith in the value of a college.”
It’s worth noting, that though the majority of people with degrees still favor them, the rate at which they disapprove of getting one jumped ten points throughout the last decade, so that now 42% don’t see it worth getting one.
The outlet provided some further breakdown, stating, “Women and older Americans are driving the decline in confidence. People over the age of 65 with faith in college declined to 44% from 56% in 2017. Confidence among women fell to 44% from 54%, according to the poll.”
Source: Fox News
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