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Video: Californians Concerned about Cost but Give State’s Colleges Good Grades

Linda Strean November 6, 2017

Many Californians say the state’s public higher education system is going in the wrong direction, a new PPIC Statewide Survey shows. But they are more likely to say they are concerned about affordability than about the quality of the state’s colleges and universities. Just 18% of all adults say quality is a big problem, compared to 56% who call affordability a big problem.

Researcher Lunna Lopes presented the findings of PPIC’s annual survey on higher education to a Sacramento audience last week.

Among the survey findings underscoring Californians’ concerns about college affordability: 75% say the cost of college keeps students who are qualified and motivated from attending, 79% say students have to borrow too much money to pay for college, and 85% say colleges and universities should do more to make sure that all students have affordable housing options.

In contrast to Californians’ views on costs, solid majorities of residents give excellent or good ratings to the state’s community colleges, California State University, and the University of California.

Californians are divided on whether a college education is necessary to succeed in today’s work world, with half saying it is and 48% saying there are many ways to succeed without college. There are strong differences among demographic groups on this question. Two-thirds of Latinos say college is necessary, compared to just 35 percent of whites. And 59% of Californians with household incomes of $40,000 or less say college is necessary, compared to 42% of those whose incomes are $80,000 or more.

Despite this divide over whether college is necessary for success, 80% of Californians say the public higher education system is very important to the future quality of life and economic vitality of the state.

News and analysis of California policy issues from PPIC

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