Degrees Not Worth the Paper They Are Printed On: Only 36% of Americans Believe College Is Worth Expense

Harvard University building
Nikhil Desai/Flickr

Only 36 percent of Americans are confident about the value of a college education, a confidence level that has declined from 57 percent in 2015. Most Americans, meanwhile, say they believe higher education in the U.S. is headed in the “wrong direction.”

A mere 36 percent of adults say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education, the results of a recent poll conducted by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation found, according to a report by Associated Press.

“What’s shocking to me is that the people who have low or no confidence is actually increasing,” Courtney Brown, vice president of the education nonprofit Lumina, said.

Notably, confidence in the U.S. higher education system is even slipping among those who answered that they felt good about it, as fewer Americans said they have “some” confidence, with more answering “very little” and “none” than the previous year.

As many people have little or no confidence (32 percent) as those with high confidence, according to this year’s poll results.

While diminishing confidence in the U.S. higher education system was found among all demographics — such as sex, age, and political affiliation — Republican respondents saw a drop in 36 percentage points over the last decade, which was a much farther decline than Democrat or Independent respondents.

The survey also asked questions in an attempt to get a better understanding as to why confidence is dwindling.

Nearly one-third of respondents answered that the cost of a college degree is “too expensive,” while 24 percent said they believe students are not being properly educated or taught the skills they need in order to succeed in the workforce.

While the survey did not ask about the recent pro-Hamas protests transpiring on college campuses across the country, respondents expressed concerns about indoctrination, political bias, and schools being too liberal, with 41 percent of those who lack confidence in higher education citing political agendas as a reason.

More than two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) also say college is headed in the “wrong direction,” compared with just 31 percent who answered that they believe it is going in the right direction.

As Breitbart News reported, schools across the U.S. are bracing themselves for what they call an “enrollment cliff” that will involve high schools and colleges closing down, staff getting laid off, and school districts grappling with financial issues.

While the declining U.S. birth rate is partly to blame, it was also noted that the pro-terrorist demonstrations raging on college campuses — while Ivy League presidents blunder before the public and get ousted from their positions — likely contributes to an overall lack in confidence in higher education.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.