The Pennsylvania public sees a higher education not as an entitlement, but as
something students should have to work for, and the notion of a free higher education
is not attractive to very many state residents. Seventy-seven percent strongly or
somewhat agree that students only appreciate the value of an education when they
have some personal responsibility for paying what it costs.
By the same token, Pennsylvania residents feel that what a student gets out of
a college education is largely a result of the amount of effort the student puts
in. We asked our Pennsylvania respondents whether the benefits of a higher education
depend more on how much effort the student puts in or on the quality of the college.
The overwhelming majority (88%) said that effort was the key.
Pennsylvanians also put the responsibility for success in college on the student.
Seventy-one percent say that when a student falls behind, it is primarily the responsibility
of the student --rather than the college -- to get back on track. This does not mean
that colleges have no responsibility; 72% percent also agree that colleges should
provide advisors and counselors for students who fall behind, rather than take more
When it comes to thinking about financial aid, Pennsylvanians continue to emphasize
individual effort, believing that aid should go first to students who work hard.
Eighty-eight percent say that they would prefer to give financial aid to a student
with average skills who works hard in school, rather than to a student with excellent
skills who does not work hard.