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National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

Traditionally, the United States higher education system has been the envy of the world for its high quality, accessibility to millions of Americans, ability to train generations of skilled workers, and its contribution to creating the vast American middle class. Today, however, higher education is experiencing new pressures. A new generation of students--including many minorities, children of recent immigrants, and middle-aged and older Americans--is seeking access to colleges and universities. This is happening precisely when public funding for higher education seems more strained than ever. At the same time, other countries are ramping up their own higher education systems to compete in the global economy. Recently, the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education called for reforms such as greater accountability and productivity in higher education. This report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and Public Agenda explores how the American public is thinking about higher education today. Are Americans pleased with the system as it exists, or are they looking for change? How is the system working from the public's point of view and from the point of view of parents whose children may soon be students? To explore this question, Public Agenda, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts opinion research on public policy issues, designed and fielded a random sample survey of 1,001 Americans, including over-samples of African-American and Hispanic parents with children in high school. The project included five focus groups around the country and interviews with more than two dozen corporate, media, philanthropic, and legislative leaders. The study also examined a series of similar public surveys, going back to 1993, to see how the public's views have changed (or stayed the same) over time. Ten key findings emerged from the research. These are: (1) Higher education is a fundamental necessity; (2) High grades for higher education; (3) Rising costs cloud the picture; (4) More and more Americans fear that the opportunity to attend college is being threatened; (5) But the public's sense of urgency about higher education reform is diminished by pressure valves in the system; (6) Parents are worried about paying for college, but most think they will find a way; (7) All minority parents--even high-income ones--are disproportionately concerned about lack of opportunity for qualified students; (8) When it comes to public attitudes on higher education, the bloom is off the rose; (9) The public does not believe that colleges need to choose among maintaining quality, expanding access, and holding down costs; and (10) Americans prefer reforms that don't sacrifice quality or limit access. (Contains 4 footnotes.) [This paper was written with Paul Gasbarra, Amber Ott, and Jonathan Rochkind.]

Descriptors: Higher Education, Access to Education, Public Opinion, Parent Attitudes, Educational Finance, Role of Education, Global Approach, Competition, Costs, Educational Trends, Middle Class, Focus Groups, Educational Change, Public Policy, Paying for College

National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. 152 North Third Street Suite 705, San Jose, CA 95112. Tel: 408-271-2699; Fax: 408-271-2697; e-mail: center[at]highereducation.org; Web site: http://www.highereducation.org





Autor: Immerwahr, John; Johnson, Jean

Fuente: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=5268&id=ED513494







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