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As part of broader national effort, 510 Pennsylvania adults were randomly surveyed in order to examine their attitudes toward higher education. In addition, a focus group was held in suburban Philadelphia. The four major findings of the research are that Pennsylvanians believe: (1) higher education is vitally important for success; (2) the process of earning a degree is inherently valuable to building the character of students and is not merely a symbolic exercise; (3) the main responsibility for success in higher education rests with the student, but institutions should help students who exhibit strong effort; and (4) paying for college is difficult but doable. The Pennsylvania survey complements a national telephone survey of 1,015 adults. Analysis showed that Pennsylvanians' attitudes do not differ significantly from those of the nation's as a whole, except that Pennsylvanians feel that poorer students have an easier time than middle-income students attending a four-year college; Pennsylvanians also strongly support making student loans from the federal government available more often. Three tables present statewide and national response data; a final section describes the methodology. (RAB)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Adults, College Role, Education Work Relationship, Educational Attitudes, Federal Aid, Focus Groups, Higher Education, National Surveys, Relevance (Education), State Surveys, Student Costs, Student Financial Aid, Student Responsibility, Telephone Surveys, Value Judgment

National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 152 North Third Street, Suite 705, San Jose, CA 95112. For full text:

Autor: Immerwahr, John


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