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||Finding One: Coloradans Believe That
Higher Education Is Vitally Important For Success In The Contemporary World.
In early 2000, Public Agenda surveyed 501 Coloradans statewide to determine their
attitudes toward higher education. In many ways, the attitudes of Coloradans
regarding higher education are strikingly similar to the views of the nation as a whole,
as revealed in our broader survey of public attitudes, Great Expectations: How the
Public and Parents—White, African American, and Hispanic—View Higher Education.
Four major conclusions emerged from our Colorado research, which are also supported
by what we found nationwide.
For the purpose of this research, we define higher education broadly to include all
education and training beyond high school, including two- and four-year, public and
private, for-profit and nonprofit institutions.
COLORADANS BELIEVE THAT HIGHER EDUCATION IS VITALLY IMPORTANT FOR SUCCESS IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD.
Most people in Colorado believe that a higher education is essential for a person to
succeed in today’s world. In effect, Colorado residents now see a college education as
having replaced a high school diploma as the minimum entry ticket to a solid job and a
In the survey, we found:
- Fully 85% strongly or somewhat agree that a college degree has become as important as a high school diploma used to be.
- Only 21% think that it is possible to reach a point where too many people have a college degree; the overwhelming majority (74%) believe that this is one area where there can never be too much of a good thing.
As higher education is being seen as more important for success in today’s
economy and society, the public is also placing a premium on the significance of
preserving access to higher education for anyone who is sufficiently qualified and
motivated. In effect, Coloradans see access to higher education as equivalent to access to
the American dream. They believe that it is vitally important that we provide adequate
opportunities for a higher education to all qualified and motivated individuals.
Specifically, Coloradans do not want students to be excluded from a college education
by cost alone. Seventy-four percent strongly agree that we should not allow the price of
a college education to keep qualified and motivated students from going to college.
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© 2000 The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education