Finding One
Finding Two
Finding Three
Finding Four
New York and the Nation at Large
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Finding Two: Higher Education is More Than Just a Piece of Paper

New Yorkers have high expectations for what they expect students to take away from a college education. We presented our respondents with a list of factors and asked how important each was as a goal for a college education. A very important factor is that students gain a sense of maturity and learn how to manage on their own, with 72% saying that this is absolutely essential. Seventy-two percent also say that it is absolutely essential for students to learn how to get along with people different from themselves.

Although these general interpersonal skills top the list, there are a number of other skills that are rated as absolutely essential by New Yorkers, such as learning to solve problems and think analytically (68%), learning high-tech skills (65%), learning the specific expertise and knowledge in the careers they have chosen (61%), and gaining top-notch writing and speaking skills (59%).

The New York public also has high expectations for the administrators who run local colleges and universities. For example, 69% say it is absolutely essential for colleges to hire the best teachers and researchers, and 63% say that colleges should ensure that students work hard to achieve high academic standards.

Although the states residents have high expectations about what students need to learn, they are divided about the degree to which employers reward credentials rather than ability. Half (50%) believe that college graduates get higher salaries because having a college degree means someone has skills and accomplishments, but an almost equally high 43% think that employers are just impressed by the degree.

The public has high expectations, but they also seem to be pleased with the job New Yorks public and private colleges and universities are doing, especially as compared to the performance of the states high schools. Sixty percent give the colleges in the state an excellent or a good rating, as opposed to only 38% who give state high schools a good or excellent rating.


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