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1. Stability in Values
2. Growing Concerns
about Access
3. Attitudes about Social Class and Access
4. Older People Seeking Retraining
5. The Responsibility of Students
6. Necessary for Success
7. Holding the Line on Price Increases
Conclusion: Growing Importance of Higher Education
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  7. Holding the Line on Price Increases

Recent discussions of higher education in Washington have raised issues about inefficiency and waste in higher education. Our studies do not suggest that the public is especially concerned about this issue at the moment.

In 2000, we asked the public whether they thought higher education was making an effort to keep prices down (see table 11). What we found was that a plurality (45%) said that they just did not know enough to answer our question-an unusually and notably high percentage of "don't know" responses, indicating that people clearly do not know very much about the inner workings of colleges and universities. Still, 39% said colleges raise prices whenever they can and only 15% said that they thought colleges were working to keep prices down. When we revisited this question in 2003, the number who said they didn't know dropped from 45% to 38% (still a tremendously high percentage); 43% maintain the position that colleges are raising prices whenever they can and 19% that colleges work to keep prices down.

Table Eleven


General Public

Is it your sense that colleges and universities work hard to keep the price of college education down, or that they raise prices whenever they can to bring in more money, or donít you know enough to say?



Work to keep the price down



Raise prices whenever they can



Donít know enough to say




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