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Americans losing faith in college degrees, poll finds

Posted by   /  September 7, 2017  /  1 Comment

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The survey results carry political implications for universities that are already under pressure to rein in their costs. /PHOTO: SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

Men, young adults and rural residents increasingly say college isn’t worth the cost

By Josh Mitchell and Douglas Belkin | The Wall Street Journal

Americans are losing faith in the value of a college degree, with majorities of young adults, men and rural residents saying college isn’t worth the cost, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows.

The findings reflect an increase in public skepticism of higher education from just four years ago and highlight a growing divide in opinion falling along gender, educational, regional and partisan lines. They also carry political implications for universities, already under public pressure to rein in their costs and adjust curricula after decades of sharp tuition increases.

Overall, a slim plurality of Americans, 49%, believes earning a four-year degree will lead to a good job and higher lifetime earnings, compared with 47% who don’t, according to the poll of 1,200 people taken Aug. 5-9. That two-point margin narrowed from 13 points when the same question was asked four years earlier.

The shift was almost entirely due to growing skepticism among Americans without four-year degrees—those who never enrolled in college, who took only some classes or who earned a two-year degree. Four years ago, that group used to split almost evenly on the question of whether college was worth the cost. Now, skeptics outnumber believers by a double-digit margin.

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1 Comment

  1. Lee Drocco says:

    These articles all seem to miss the point. Ask the grads with degrees in physics, math, engineering, chemistry, biology, etc. and you will get an entirely different response. Years ago when I was struggling in my first year of accounting a friend tried to talk me into switching to sociology which he said was a lot easier. A wiser friend called them ‘magazine courses’ because magazine articles were the substance of the sociology curriculum. I stuck with accounting, worked hard, passed the CPA exam and had a very successful career in finance. Colleges with overpaid professors teaching garbage courses and charging out of sight tuition are a major scandal. The grads who feel college wasn’t worth it were conned into taking the easy road and were fleeced with tuition costs so the grand old alma mater could continue operating high on the hog. They would have been better off learning a trade in which they could support themselves and their families.

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