For many Americans, the cost of traditional higher education just isn’t worth it. Several reasons are causing many Americans to doubt the value of a four-year degree, according to one recent poll.
According to a new poll published by the Wall Street Journal this week, 56% of Americans said that going to college isn’t worth it anymore, while 42% disagreed. The majority of Americans are in agreement, and the internal numbers from the poll are even more interesting.
Those with college degrees are now almost as likely to say that college isn’t worth the trouble as they are to say that it is.
Fewer high school graduates are going to college. Now a new poll indicates that increasing numbers of Americans think a college degree isn't worth the costs. https://t.co/Lh4EbEChwQ
— reason (@reason) March 31, 2023
Furthermore, public attitude is shifting quickly, as a decade ago 53% of Americans said that a college education was worth it.
There are a variety of reasons that many Americans have little trust in higher education today. For starters, the cost of tuition has well-outpaced inflation. Government policies at the state and federal levels intended to reduce the price of going to college have instead dramatically increased it.
Over the last 20 years, the price of college has more than doubled for many students. Among those who attend a public institution in-state, the price has nearly tripled, from just over $4,000 in 2003 to almost $12,000 this year.
Furthermore, the price of attending a private school has also shot up– from just over $19,000 a generation ago to more than $44,000 per year today. The massive cost of education means that students are often saddled with considerable student loan debt after they leave.
The pandemic has played a role, as well. There are currently more than a million fewer college students than in 2019.
Another major factor according to many conservatives has been the leftward shift of many colleges. Some conservative organizations such as the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression argue that college education has become far more partisan in recent years.
Recent data seems to support this case, including election data. One study found that college professors donated to Democratic Party causes over Republican ones at a rate of 95-to-1. One recent case had students from George Mason University in Virginia attempting to cancel the planned graduation speech of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) in May.