Finding One
Finding Two
Finding Three
Finding Four
Pennsylvanians and the Nation at Large
Supporting Tables
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Pennsylvania and the Nation at Large

In many of the areas we have discussed so far, the attitudes of Pennsylvanians are not significantly different from those of the nation as a whole. But there are a few areas where the attitudes of Pennsylvanians differ somewhat from those of the nation.

One area deals with the question of who has the hardest time attending a four-year college: a low-income student (who may be able to qualify for financial aid), or a middle-class student (who may not qualify for financial aid because of his or her family's higher income). Nationwide, a plurality (48%) think that the middle-class person has an easier time, as opposed to 43% who think things are easier for the poorer person. In Pennsylvania, however, the views are reversed. Forty-nine percent think things will be easier for the low-income student, while only 42% think the middle-class student will find it easier. As one woman in our Bala Cynwyd focus group put it: "I think the lower income person has it easier. There's so many things for low income. There are programs out there where you can get money for your books and for transportation. If you're middle income, you're not gonna have the extra income to buy those books."

In another finding that may be related, Pennsylvanians are more likely to support making money available for student loans, with 65% saying that the federal government should use loans more often, higher than the 57% of the nation as a whole who feel this way. Our hypothesis is that these differences may be driven by the fact that Pennsylvania is, relatively speaking, a state where higher education is more expensive than in many other states. Pennsylvanians appear to be feeling the pinch, and thus may be more likely to be concerned about the ability of middle-class families to afford education for their children.


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