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- According to a new survey by research firm Morning Consult, more than three in four US adults, 77%, say it would be difficult for someone like them to pay for a college education.
- Women were more likely than men to think college education was unaffordable, 82% versus 73%. The poll found out 80% of Black respondents, 78% of Hispanic respondents, and 77% of White respondents said college was difficult to fund.
- Community colleges and two-year colleges were seen as the most affordable option – 65% of respondents said they found them affordable. That was ahead of professional and professional certificate programs, which 57% of respondents considered affordable.
The new survey adds data points on a long-standing concern of higher education leaders: whether the public views higher education as affordable and worthwhile. This question has become even more important since then This was announced by US President Joe Biden a sweeping federal student loan relief plan on Aug. 24. The forgiveness plan is still igniting litigation and public debate about it who should pay what for the higher education of the students and who benefits from it.
The morning consultation a vote took place 27-28 August, shortly after Biden announced his debt relief plan. It includes a sample of 4,420 adults surveyed online and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents, 64%, said they had never had student loan debt. One in five said they had taken out student loans but repaid them, while 16% said they currently owed student loans.
Of those with current debt, 11% said they owed less than $5,000 and 16% said they owed between $5,000 and $10,000. A quarter said they owed $10,000 to $25,000, about another quarter said they owed $25,000 to $50,000, and the remaining 24% said they owed more.
Pollsters also questioned whether borrowers’ current financial situation makes it worthwhile to take out a student loan to attend college. More than half, 56%, said it did, while 37% said it didn’t. The remaining 6% said they didn’t know.
Community colleges and vocational programs were the only types of higher education considered affordable by more than half of the respondents. Only 35% said undergraduate education at state public universities was affordable, compared to 20% who said the same about undergraduate education at out-of-state public universities.
Only 18% said private non-profit undergraduate education was affordable. That was still ahead of private for-profit organizations, which were considered affordable by just 13% of respondents.
But 53% of adults said an undergraduate education at a state public university is good value for money – meaning the outcome is worth the price. For out-of-state public agencies, 41% said the same thing.
A similar proportion, 40%, rated private for-profit universities as good, compared with 33% for private, for-profit undergraduate education.
Still, community colleges and professional and professional programs outperformed all other options when it came to value. About 65% of respondents cited community colleges or two-year colleges as good value, and 66% said the same about careers and professional programs.