- More than half of Americans do not believe a four-year college degree is worth the cost, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC poll released Friday.
- About 56% of respondents said college graduates leave without specific job skills and with high amounts of debt, versus 42% who said a four-year degree is worth the price. This represents a new low in confidence. In 2017, 47% of respondents reported skepticism with higher ed's ability to lead to good jobs and increased earnings.
- The organizations also found greater skepticism in the youngest age bracket, 18 to 34, than in other groups. NORC, a research center at the University of Chicago, helped poll more than 1,000 adults in March.
The public has become increasingly focused on colleges’ financial returns, particularly as tuition costs have soared. This has contributed to mistrust in a higher education system some students fear will leave them saddled with debt.
The poll results are “sobering,” Ted Mitchell, president of American Council on Education, higher ed’s top lobbying group, told The Wall Street Journal.
Mitchell said the sector needs “to do a better job at storytelling,” but added colleges must also improve their practices.