Given that there is a collision course between the
increasing necessity and the decreasing availability
of higher education, one might expect that higher
education access would be at the top of the public’s
agenda. But higher education remains, at least so far,
a back-burner issue—important, but not highest
on the list of concerns.
One of these factors, for instance, is the widely
shared belief that, ultimately, any student who is willing
to make enough sacrifices (such as going to school
part-time, living at home, etc.) can still get a higher
education (see Figure 9).
In other words, despite the fact that access to higher
education is—for all practical purposes—slipping
out of reach for more people, the door has not been
completely shut. In fact, most people think that students
who have to sacrifice for a higher education will actually
learn more (see Figure 10).
The presence and accessibility of community
colleges is another major factor that relieves anxiety.
Parents of high school students are extremely
nervous about high costs and decreasing access,
but large majorities of them remain convinced
that their child will get a college education (see Figure 11)
and that, somehow, they will find a way to pay for it (see Figure 12).