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Only about 1/3 of Americans think college is worth it

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More Americans are losing confidence that a college degree is actually worth it. A new Gallup poll shows only about a third of Americans say they have a “great deal” or “a lot” of confidence in higher education, down significantly over the past decade.

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In 2015, 57% had a lot of confidence in higher education. 

The amount of people who have little or no confidence in the U.S. college system is on the rise as another third of people said they feel that way. Only 10% had little or no confidence in 2015. 

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According to the recent Gallup survey, lower levels of confidence in higher education stem primarily from concerns in three areas: too much focus on political agendas, failing to teach relevant skills and being too expensive. 

However, a separate Gallup poll found confidence in two-year schools is going up. About half of respondents (48%) said they had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in community colleges compared to four-year colleges and universities. 

The differences were also dramatic. For instance, 58% of Americans have high confidence two-year schools provide an affordable education, while only 11% agree with that about four-year schools. And more than half (55%) say a degree from a two-year college is worth it, compared to only 18% who feel that way about four-year universities. 

The waning view of whether college is worth the time and money is consistent across all demographics, including gender, age and political affiliation.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

MORE AND MORE AMERICANS ARE LOSING CONFIDENCE THAT A COLLEGE DEGREE IS ACTUALLY WORTH IT.

A NEW GALLUP POLL SHOWS ONLY ABOUT A THIRD OF AMERICANS SAY THEY HAVE A “GREAT DEAL” OR “A LOT” OF CONFIDENCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION – DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY OVER THE PAST DECADE.

IN 2015 – 57 PERCENT HAD A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION.

AND THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE LITTLE OR NO CONFIDENCE IN THE U.S. COLLEGE SYSTEM IS ON THE RISE… WITH ANOTHER THIRD OF PEOPLE FEELING THAT WAY. 

ONLY 10 PERCENT HAD LITTLE OR NO CONFIDENCE IN 2015.

ACCORDING TO THE RECENT GALLUP SURVEY – LOWER LEVELS OF CONFIDENCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION STEM PRIMARILY FROM CONCERNS IN THREE AREAS: TOO MUCH FOCUS ON POLITICAL AGENDAS… FAILING TO TEACH RELEVANT SKILLS… AND BEING TOO EXPENSIVE.

HOWEVER – A SEPARATE GALLUP POLL FOUND CONFIDENCE IN TWO-YEAR SCHOOLS IS GOING UP.

ABOUT HALF OF RESPONDENTS (48%) SAID THEY HAD A GREAT DEAL OR QUITE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES, COMPARED TO FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.

AND THE DIFFERENCES WERE PRETTY DRAMATIC – FOR INSTANCE, 58 PERCENT OF AMERICANS HAVE HIGH CONFIDENCE TWO YEARS SCHOOL PROVIDE AN AFFORDABLE EDUCATION… WHILE ONLY 11 PERCENT AGREE WITH THAT ABOUT FOUR-YEAR SCHOOLS.

AND MORE THAN HALF (55%) SAY A DEGREE FROM A TWO-YEAR COLLEGE IS WORTH IT… COMPARED TO ONLY 18 PERCENT WHO FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT FOUR-YEAR UNIVERSITIES. 

THE WANING VIEW OF WHETHER COLLEGE IS WORTH THE TIME AND MONEY IS CONSISTENT ACROSS ALL DEMOGRAPHICS… INCLUDING GENDER, AGE, AND POLITICAL AFFILIATION.