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Introduction
 
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
 
Appendix
 
About the Author
 
About Public Agenda
 
About the National
Center for
Public Policy and
Higher Education
 
Front Page of Report
 

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Page 2 of 13

  1. Stability in Values

At the broadest level, attitudes on higher education have changed little since our last study in 2000.

In the years since our last study, the public has had to wrestle with many issues-terrorism, war in Afghanistan and Iraq, recession, and unemployment, among others. Higher education-never a front-burner issue-has not been a major focus of public attention. Not surprisingly, we found little change in the public's values regarding higher education. Indeed, attitudes on the broad value issues have been remarkably stable for the past 10 years. The vast majority of Americans continue to believe that getting a college education is more important than it was in the past, that the country can never have too many college graduates, and that we should not allow the price of a higher education to exclude qualified and motivated students from getting a college education. Table 1 presents several questions whose responses show very little change from 1993 to 2003.*

Table One

 

General Public

 

2003
(n=801)
%

2000
(n=1,015)
%

1998
(n=700)
%

1993
(n=502)
%

We should not allow the price of a college education to keep students who are qualified and motivated to go to college from doing so (strongly or somewhat agree).

91

93

89

89

High school graduates should go on to college [rather than taking any decent job after high school] because in the long run they’ll have better job prospects.

87

NA

86

79

The number of people in the U.S. who have a college degree is one area where there can never be too much of a good thing.

78

76

NA

NA

Getting a college education today is more important than it was 10 years ago.

76

77

75

NA

Students have to borrow too much money to pay for their college education (strongly or somewhat agree).

76

80

87

81


* See appendix for full wording and responses for all questions in this report.

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