Just 5 percent of the public says students get excellent value for the money they spend on college, according to a survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.
Of the remaining respondents, some 35 percent say they receive good value; 42 percent say only fair; and 15 percent say it’s a poor return on their investment. Nearly three-quarters of the public surveyed say most people cannot afford to pay for a college education. That is up from 1985, when six in 10 Americans felt that way.
At the same time, 86 percent of college graduates say getting a degree was a good investment for them personally, the telephone survey found. Adults with a college degree estimated, on average, that they earn $20,000 a year more by virtue of having gotten that degree.
The results come from a nationally representative survey of 2,142 individuals conducted in March 2011.
A version of this article appeared in the May 25, 2011 edition of Education Week as Value of College