This Policy Alert is the most recent in a series of reports on public opinion research commissioned by the National Center and conducted by Public Agenda. Other studies include:
Squeeze Play: How Parents and the Public Look at Higher Education Today, by John Immerwahr and Jean Johnson (May 2007, #07-4). This report explores how the American public views higher education today.
Public Attitudes on Higher Education: A Trend Analysis, 1993 to 2003, by John Immerwahr (February 2004, #04-2). This public opinion survey reveals that public attitudes about the importance of higher education have remained stable during the recent economic downturn. The survey also finds that there are some growing public concerns about the costs of higher education, especially for those groups most affected, including parents of high school students, African-Americans, and Hispanics.
With Diploma in Hand: Hispanic High School Seniors Talk About Their Future, by John Immerwahr (June 2003, #03-02). This report explores some of the primary obstacles that many Hispanic students face in seeking higher education—barriers that suggest opportunities for creative public policy to improve college attendance and completion rates among Hispanics.
The Affordability of Higher Education: A Review of Recent Survey Research, by John Immerwahr (May 2002, #02-4). This review of surveys confirms that Americans feel that rising college costs threaten to make higher education inaccessible for many people.
Great Expectations: How the Public and Parents—White, African-American, and Hispanic—View Higher Education, by John Immerwahr with Tony Foleno (May 2000, #00-2). This report finds that Americans overwhelmingly see higher education as essential for success. Survey results are also available for the following states:
      Great Expectations: How Pennsylvanians View Higher Education (May 2000, #00-2b).
      Great Expectations: How Floridians View Higher Education (August 2000, #00-2c).
      Great Expectations: How Coloradans View Higher Education (August 2000, #00-2d).
      Great Expectations: How Californians View Higher Education (August 2000, #00-2e).
      Great Expectations: How New Yorkers View Higher Education(October 2000, #00-2f).
      Great Expectations: How Illinois Residents View Higher Education (October 2000, #00-2h).
Taking Responsibility: Leaders’ Expectations of Higher Education, by John Immerwahr (January 1999, #99-1). This paper reports the views of those most involved with decision-making about higher education, based on focus groups and a survey.
The Price of Admission: The Growing Importance of Higher Education, by John Immerwahr (Spring 1998, #98-2). This report is a national survey of Americans’ views on higher education.
Enduring Values, Changing Concerns: What Californians Expect from Their Higher Education System, by John Immerwahr (March 1997 # 97-1). Enduring Values, Changing Concerns revisits many of the same issues discussed in The Closing Gateway through another statewide sample of opinions. This report shows which attitudes endured from 1993 to 1997, and which changed in response to new developments in the state.
Preserving the Higher Education Legacy: A Conversation with California Leaders, by John Immerwahr with Jill Boese (March 1995 # 95-3, ED #381069). Based on interviews with 29 California leaders regarding their views of higher education, this report highlights major findings, including a concern that the policy discussion in higher education and the state has become insulated and ineffective.
The Closing Gateway: Californians Consider Their Higher Education System, by John Immerwahr and Steve Farkas (September 1993 # 93-6). This report includes the results of a statewide survey of Californians to better understand public values and expectations for higher education.
These reports can be obtained by visiting the National Center’s Web site at, or by calling the Center at (408) 271-2699.


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