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Despite Growing Public Doubt, Data Show College Is Worth It


Jun. 18, 2014 Alcalde

Few topics have inspired more hand-wringing and hair-pulling in recent years than the cost of college. Phrases like “return on investment,” “time to degree,” and the dreaded “student debt crisis” have become mainstays in the higher education debate. These ideas are often adopted, scorned, or studied by centers and think tanks, sometimes as a outgrowth of a group’s existing ideological or political bent, sometimes simply in order to keep up with a topic that’s become increasingly hyped as tuition rises nationwide and student loan debt surpasses credit card debt.

Yesterday, it became clear that everyone—from parents to sitting presidents—is concerned about the issue and that it has seeped into the public’s view of higher education, at least in Texas. The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows a rapid decline in the perception of a college education among registered Texas voters. According to the Tribune:

Only 28 percent said a college education is necessary for a person to succeed in today’s work world, while 68 percent said “there are many ways to succeed … without a college degree.” That’s a big change from the UT/TT Poll of May 2010, when 42 percent called college necessary and 56 percent said there are other paths to success.

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