About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say the higher education system in the United States is going in the wrong direction, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. But Republicans and Democrats differ over why they think this is the case.
About three-quarters (73%) of Republicans and those who lean to the Republican Party say higher education is headed in the wrong direction. Democrats and Democratic leaners are more evenly split – 52% say higher education is going in the wrong direction and 46% say it’s going in the right direction. Among Democrats, younger adults are the most likely to offer a negative opinion: For example, 61% of Democrats ages 18 to 34 say the higher education system is going in the wrong direction, compared with 48% of Democrats ages 50 to 64 and 40% of those 65 and older. Meanwhile, 54% of Democrats ages 35 to 49 say the same.
Partisan differences in attitudes about the direction of the higher education system are consistent with findings from 2017 Pew Research Center surveys, which found that Republicans feel colder toward college professors than Democrats do and that Republicans have grown increasingly negative about the impact of colleges and universities on the direction of the country.
Majorities of Republicans and Democrats who say higher education is going in the wrong direction cite inadequate workforce preparation and tuition costs as major reasons why, but here, too, there are some partisan gaps.
Among Americans who say the country’s higher education system is going in the wrong direction, 84% cite high tuition costs as a major reason why they think this is the case. About two-thirds (65%) say students not getting the skills they need in the workplace is a major reason, while roughly half cite colleges and universities being too concerned about protecting students from views they might find offensive (54%) or professors bringing their political and social views into the classroom (50%).
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Most see higher ed going the wrong direction. Partisans split on why | Pew Research Center