College & Workforce Readiness News in Brief

Most Republicans Have Negative View of Higher Education, Poll Finds

By Catherine Gewertz — July 18, 2017 1 min read
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Republicans are becoming increasingly critical of the effect higher education is having on American life, with 58 percent saying colleges and universities exert a negative impact on the country, according to a study released last week.

The findings by the Pew Research Center show a sharp divide in attitude toward higher education between Republicans and Democrats. While 58 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said colleges and universities have a negative impact on “the way things are going in the country,” 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said higher education exerts a positive impact.

The report doesn’t offer insight into why Republicans’ views of higher education have grown more negative. But doubts about the value of college have grown in the wake of the Great Recession, as many college graduates struggled to find work, and the cost of college—and student-debt levels—soared. Policymakers are increasingly hailing career-focused education as a way to equip young people with skills that can lead to industry credentials and good jobs.

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A version of this article appeared in the July 19, 2017 edition of Education Week as Most Republicans Have Negative View Of Higher Education, Poll Finds


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