College & Workforce Readiness

Survey: Young People See College as Worthwhile But Overpriced

By Caralee J. Adams — July 11, 2014 1 min read
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A new survey of Americans from the so-called millennial generation finds that three-quarters feel that college is “definitely” or “probably” a worthwhile investment. But they also think it can be made more affordable.

According to the 2014 Reason-Rupe survey, 79 percent of the respondents, who ranged in age from 18 to 29, believe that colleges could provide the same quality of education at a lower price. Just 19 percent said current tuition levels are necessary to maintain the quality of education.

More than half of the respondents (54 percent) agreed with the idea that colleges could cut the number of administrators without harming the quality of education for students.

In the past 25 years, the number of non-academic administrative and professional employees at U.S. colleges and universities has more than doubled, expanding at a higher rate than the number of students or faculty, theNew England Center for Investigative Reporting found.

Cost is an increasingly critical component driving college aspirations and completion.

Other survey research in December found nearly three-quarters of Americans saying that affordability is an important factor in the decision to pursue a degree. A report in Octoberfound that 40 percent of survey respondents said obtaining more education is worth taking on more debt. Fifty-five percent said they would only pursue a degree if it would not put them into debt.

The recent film “Ivory Tower” highlighted the need for reform in higher education and blamed rising tuition costs largely on competition in the ratings rivalry among campuses to offer the most services and perks to students.

The Reason-Rupe survey results included online responses from 2,000 nationally representative young people. It was conducted by YouGov with support from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundationin February and March of 2014

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.