Is a College Education Still Important to Americans?

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Despite years of skyrocketing prices on everything from textbooks to tuition and backbreaking loads of student debt, many Americans still see a college education as very important in today’s society.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of Americans believe that a college education is very important, up significantly over the past few decades. Only 6 percent of respondents said a college education was not too important. In comparison, just 36 percent of Americans considered a college education very important when Gallup first asked the question in 1978.

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“The importance Americans place on a college education is particularly relevant as questions arise concerning the relationship between the cost of a college education and its value,” said Gallup. “Additionally, various studies and anecdotes from recent college graduates lament the soft job market for Americans with a college degree. At the same time, the high value that Americans place on a college education may reflect evidence that Americans with college degrees earn significantly more over their lifetimes than those without degrees. Or the perceived importance could be a nod to the effect of the new ‘knowledge economy’ that often leaves young Americans without degrees unable to compete for jobs.”