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Three-quarters of Americans think it’s easier to succeed in life with a college degree than without one, but only 43 percent say private, nonprofit universities and colleges are worth the cost, according to a new poll.
Fifty-eight percent say colleges and universities put their own interests ahead of those of students, and only one in four believe the higher-education system is working well, the survey, commissioned by the foundation New America, found.
It’s the latest in a series of reports suggesting public approval of colleges is foundering.
Nearly half of people surveyed last year by Public Agenda said higher education is no longer necessarily a good investment. A Gallup poll found that about the same proportion of university and college graduates were less than certain their degrees were worth the money.
Poll: Colleges put their interests first
Nearly 60 percent of people in the Public Agenda survey thought colleges care mostly about their bottom lines and nearly 60 percent that having a college education is no longer really necessary.
The new poll, conducted for New America by the market-research firm Ipsos in late February and early March, echoes this.
In it, only slightly more than half of the 1,600 people surveyed say they think public and private, nonprofit four-year institutions put their students first.
Slightly more than half say there are plenty of well-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.
But four out of five Americans say most people who enroll in college benefit.
Community colleges fare best, with 83 percent saying they contribute to a strong workforce, 82 percent that they are worth the cost, 80 percent that they prepare people to be successful, and 62 percent that they put their students first.
Americans are glum about their prospects for doing better than previous generations. Nearly two-thirds of those who are college age say they think it will be harder for them than for their parents to find a good-paying job, and nearly 60 percent that it will be harder to afford a family.