New America Releases Survey Showing Strong Support for Community Colleges

The survey identifies perceptions of higher education nationwide.

Today, New America released the results of a survey titled Varying Degrees: New America’s Annual Survey on Higher Education that gathered information about Americans’ perceptions of higher education and its influence on economic mobility. Findings reveal both positive and critical impressions: for example, 75 percent of respondents agree that it is easier to be successful with a college degree than without; however, only 25 percent believe that the American higher education system works well as it exists today.

The survey revealed one consistent finding: respondents nationwide have a high opinion of community colleges. Eighty percent or more believe that two-year community colleges contribute to a strong American work force, are worth the cost, and prepare people to be successful. Respondents also believe that community colleges always put their students first more often than other higher-education sectors do. Sixty-two percent believe that community colleges always put their students first.

“Despite many colleges being faced with devastating reductions in state support, we are encouraged that the public recognizes the great contributions community colleges make to the workforce and, most importantly, to our students," said ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown.

This is the first time New America has conducted this particular survey, and the foundation intends to re-issue it annually, using this year’s findings as a baseline to measure changes in perception of higher education over time.

The full text of the report is available here.

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