Once viewed as a sound investment in a better life, many Americans now see higher education as an expensive gamble. Declining enrollments and eroding public and institutional support are plaguing our nation’s postsecondary institutions right now, and the public is continuing to lose faith that a college education is worth the money and time or that it pays off in the job market, says this report from HCM Strategists.
According to the report, Americans want college and universities to prioritize three outcomes: increased affordability, equal opportunity and career-relevant skills. Yet research shows that higher ed is consistently falling short: Regardless of race, ethnicity, income, geographical location or political affiliation, the public believes that higher education is increasingly inaccessible, unaffordable, and disconnected from the skills needed to get and keep good jobs.
The report concludes by calling on colleges and universities, policymakers, and policy influencers to internalize public sentiment and uncomfortable data and act decisively, guided by the public’s vision for how higher education can better support a more just and prosperous nation.