What Americans think about college, according to Gallup: love, concern, and racial difference

more from Bryan Alexander on higher education. Last was on inequities (don’t miss that one either): this one is on public perceptions ~ how others, potential stakeholders, see higher education.

Bryan Alexander

Gallup logoA new Gallup poll reveals some American attitudes about higher education.  The results of “Postsecondary Education Aspirations and Barriers” are quite useful for academia.  Americans seems to view colleges and universities like a beloved family member who’s run into serious personal problems: with care and concern, marked by persistent racial differences.

In some ways we’re still bullish on higher education. 96% see having “a degree or professional certificate beyond high school” in a good light, both for “getting good job” and for “having a high quality of life.”  We think college has some virtues when it comes to job preparation: “About three-quarters of U.S. adults (73%) agree or strongly agree that employers value the knowledge and skills students obtain through the process of earning a college degree…”

We’re even ok with going into debt, if asked the right way:

More than half (62%) say that $20,000 or more in debt is reasonable…

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About @NatM4Equity

The National Mobilization for Equity is a coalition of organizations committed to alleviating the present staffing crisis in higher education: three-quarters of the teaching jobs in American colleges are held by underpaid, precarious and poorly-supported contingent faculty. Our long-term goal is to end contingency as the norm. The current untenable situation not only adversely affects all faculty members, both contingent and tenure-track, it also negatively impacts our profession, our students and the quality of their education.

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