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Survey Shows Partisan Skepticism of Higher Education Impact

Attitudes about the impact of higher education is a growing partisan issue in the United States, reports a recent survey.

The survey conducted by Pew Research Center shows a deep partisan view of higher education. A majority of those surveyed, (55 percent), believes that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the nation.

The survey asked 2,504 adults, both graduates and non-graduates, their attitudes toward national institutions, including banks, churches, national news media, colleges and universities and labor unions.

Fifty-eight percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents report colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country while 36 percent say the effect is positive. Two years ago, the results were reverse: 54 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners reported a positive effect while 37 percent said the effect was negative. This is a drastic change, according to Pew.

More than 70 percent of Democrats, including both graduates and non-graduates, view colleges and universities as having a positive effect on the United States. This figure has changed little from recent years, and there is a smaller disparity between liberal Democrats and moderate Democrats.

This article is from the August 2017 BriefCASE issue of BriefCASE.