Americans say universities must change their course, poll shows

Posted: Wed, 11/28, 4:11pm, Updated: 2 years ago

Americans believe that without innovation, higher education could lose its edge in the future, a national poll released Tuesday showed.

Although nearly two-thirds of Americans said the country’s education system is one of the best in the world, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that 83 percent of Americans believe change in the nation’s colleges and universities is necessary to remain competitive worldwide.

One of the issues respondents have with higher education is the cost, with 86 percent saying it creates significant challenges in getting a degree, the Chronicle said. Also, 60 percent said the higher education system is providing a “fair” or “poor” value for the money, according to the survey.

But a degree does mean something. According to the survey, three out of every four Americans believe a college degree is more important now than it was for their parents’ generation.

FTI Consulting administered the survey for Northeastern University in October, according to the Northeastern news service. Survey results were revealed to government leaders, academics, and members of the private sector at a forum in Washington, D.C.

According to survey results, younger Americans strongly support alternative college payment options, the Northeastern news service said. One such option allows students to pay for a university’s academic aspects at a lower price without paying for access to other add-ons like residence halls and athletic facilities. This type of alternative is called a “no-frills” option.

Nearly nine in 10 Americans believe mixing semesters of courses with semesters of full-time paid employment better prepares students for success in the workplace, the Northeastern news service said. Also, nearly half of Americans said an online degree offers a quality of education like that of a traditional degree.

“These findings are a wake-up call for those of us in higher education to renew the social compact we have always had with Americans by innovating across multiple dimensions,” Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun told the university’s news service.

The Chronicle said 1,251 survey participants were contacted both online and by phone. The margin of error is 3.1 percent, according to the Northeastern news service.

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