For Immediate Release: Friday, May 2, 2003
National Poll Shows Higher Education Enjoys Strong Public Support
PIERRE – A national public opinion poll reports Americans strongly support higher education, but the poll’s real value may be in its secondary findings, the executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents said Friday.
Robert T. Tad Perry says he is encouraged by survey results published today in The Chronicle of Higher Education, but some findings clearly identify areas on which higher education can focus. “These polls are one way to gauge the public’s perception of the job we do,” Perry said. “For one, it helps us to confirm our priorities, and we can also better communicate our story if we know what the public is thinking.”
percent of the people responding to the Chronicle survey said colleges and
universities are one of this country’s most valuable resources, and 64
percent said an advanced degree—graduate-level or professional—will
soon be more important than a four-year degree for success in the U.S. The
telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted nationwide, and has a
margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
“The poll results show solid public support for higher education and the value of a college education,” Perry said. “It was also encouraging to see 67 percent of those polled said state and federal governments should invest more money in higher education.”
That same percentage—67 percent—said state and federal governments should invest more money in financial aid for students going to college. Perry said that view gained support this year in the South Dakota Legislature. The Legislature set the groundwork by creating the Regents’ Scholarship Program, although with a tight budget it did not come up with any state dollars to fund the scholarships this year. “We know that finding the money to pay for these scholarships is a priority for many legislators and Governor Rounds,” Perry said. “We are ready to work with the state’s policy makers to make these scholarships a reality next year.”
Perry said other survey findings from The Chronicle of Higher Education are worth noting:
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