According to a Wall Street Journal-NORC poll published on Friday, the majority of Americans no longer believe that a college education is worth the astronomical cost.
The poll revealed that roughly 56% of Americans do not believe that college is worth the cost, while 42% state that it is. The statistic of individuals defending the worth of a college degree has been steadily decreasing over the last decade — with the Wall Street Journal noting that 53% of respondents agreed with the sentiment in 2013, while 49% agreed in 2017.
Unsurprisingly, the groups who have defended college education included Democrats, those who have already earned a college degree, and individuals who make more than $100,000 per year. However, 42% of individuals who had already earned a college degree agreed that it was not worth the cost — a statistic that is 10% higher than the same demographic previously said in two polls on the issue in the last decade.
People between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to disagree with the need for college.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, American Council on Education president Ted Mitchell said that the poll’s findings were a “wake-up call” for people in higher education.
“These findings are indeed sobering for all of us in higher education, and in some ways, a wake-up call,” Mitchell told the outlet. “We need to do a better job at storytelling, but we need to improve our practice, that seems to me to be the only recipe I know of regaining public confidence.”
Mitchell went on to claim that student debt may be a reason behind the shift in Americans’ view on college and also cited a 60% graduation rate as another contributing factor.
Meanwhile, college enrollment has not recovered since the authoritarian mandates imposed by universities during the COVID pandemic, according to research from the National Student Clearinghouse. During the fall 2022 semester, there were 1.1 million fewer students than in fall 2019.
University of Virginia Vaccine Mandate: Unvaccinated Students Disenrolled https://t.co/kCMStF203w
— Ben Owen🇺🇸 (@hrkbenowen) August 21, 2021
“Pandemic-era mandates proved that colleges are often authoritarian, irrational, and not any fun, so many high school students chose to delay college or chose other paths,” Adam Kissel, visiting fellow on higher education reform at the Heritage Foundation, previously told the Daily Caller. “That’s a main reason we saw a larger dip in recent years and some recovery this academic year.”
The poll, which has a plus or minus 4.1% margin of error, was conducted in partnership with the NORC at the University of Chicago — an independent research institute. The survey primarily used an online format, polling 1,019 people between March 1-13.
Conservatives have been speaking out against colleges for some time now, pointing to the astronomical cost and the woke indoctrination in these schools. According to critics, college no longer provides enough benefits to outweigh the cost, and students are being fed radical leftist ideology by teachers rather than being taught to think independently.