Higher Education, More Important than Ever
Higher education is perceived as extremely important, and for most people a college education has become the necessary admission ticket to good jobs and a middle-class lifestyle. Parents of high school students place especially high importance on a college education, and African American and Hispanic parents give college an even higher priority than do white parents. All groups believe that the country should ensure that no qualified and motivated student is excluded from a college education because of the cost.
"Today You Don't Even Question Whether You Are Going to College."
Higher education has taken on enormous importance for many Americans. Several in our focus groups reflected on the difference a college education -- or the lack of one -- had made in their own lives, while others spoke of the impact of higher education on the lives of their children.
My husband did not go to college. He works for SEPTA [the local transit authority] and he has advanced in salary and promotions along the way, but he has always said he would have made so much more money if he did have his college degree.
-- Woman, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I see my son learning more socially, and growing in ways I never would have imagined, and I don't think that would have happened if he had gone into the workforce.
-- Man, Santa Clara, California
The survey results, based on interviews with more than 1,400 Americans, document the public's perception that a college education is essential for anyone who wants to have a successful life in contemporary America. Seventy-seven percent say that getting a college education is more important than it was 10 years ago and a towering 87% agree that a college education has become as important as a high school diploma used to be. As a woman in our focus group in Old Bridge, New Jersey, said:
Today you don't even question whether you are going to college. It's the sign of the times. When