More Americans Have Negative View of College

Pew finds Republicans and Independents are souring on institutions of higher learning.

Culture Beat · Aug. 21, 2019

The Pew Research Center recently released a new survey that finds the majority of Republicans view higher education negatively. Pew further found “that only half of American adults think college and universities are having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days.” The survey’s results seem to confirm a poll from Gallup last year finding that Americans’ “confidence in higher education dropped 57% to 48%” from 2015 to 2018, with the greatest drop coming from Republicans.

There are a number of factors that explain Americans’ increasing negativity toward higher education, though what once held strong bipartisan support has clearly fallen on harder times. One of the most obvious contributing factors to this increased negativity is the fact that the vast majority of university and college professors lean strongly to the Left. Higher education is increasingly perceived as a domain ruled by hard-leftist ideologues, where conservatives and their views and routinely derided as backwards and unwelcome, if not banned all together.

Secondly, there’s the factor of skyrocketing costs. This is a problem that even has Democrats expressing some negativity toward the value of higher education. For Republicans, the real question becomes one of practicality: Why send your child to an institution steeped in leftist dogma while at the same time incurring a tremendous about of debt in the process?

Finally, jobs. In the past, a college degree was almost a guarantee for landing higher paying, white-collar jobs. Today, that is no longer the case. Students incur massive amounts of debt for degrees in fields that offer little in the way of lucrative opportunities, while at the same time technical schools offering specialized work training can land a student on their feet, without the debt and often an immediate job. Indeed, given all these factors, it’s little wonder that so many Americans are souring on the Ivory Tower.

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