Americans: College Is Important, but We Need Innovation

9 public-opinion trends that colleges should pay attention to.

A study for Northeastern University by FTI Consulting has revealed some interesting trends about public opinion when it comes to our system of higher education. The study, “Innovation in Higher Education,” surveyed more than 1,000 American adults to learn their views about the value of a degree and what the future will look like. Resoundingly, the group felt that changes need to me made in order for a college education to maintain its worth:

“These results show that while Americans are very proud of our higher education system, they’re also concerned about the future,” said Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun. “In overwhelming numbers, they’re telling us that the system of today will not meet the challenges of tomorrow. These findings are a wake-up call for those of us in higher education to renew the social compact we have always had with Americans by innovating across multiple dimensions.”

Read Americans believe higher education must innovate on news@Northeastern.

Here are few of the important findings from the survey, which posed questions to more than 1,000 adults via phone and 250 additional young adults, aged 18 to 30, via the Internet:

  • 83% say that higher education must innovate in order for the United States to maintain its global leadership.
  • 83% of those who attended college felt their education was a good investment.
  • 75% believe that a college education is an important part of finding a good job.
  • 86% rank paying for college as a big obstacle to obtaining a college degree.
  • 64% of those aged 18 to 30 say concerns about college costs caused a close friend or family member to postpone or forgo attending college.
  • 53% say an online degree will be just as recognized and accepted among employers as a traditional degree in the next five to seven years.
  • 84% of Americans aged 18 to 30 believe a hybrid learning approach benefits students more than online courses alone.
  • 73% of Americans say a “no frills” option that gives students access to classes, courses and faculty at a reduced price, but not amenities such as residence halls and athletic facilities, would have been a good option for them.
  • 57% of Americans aged 18 to 30 have taken at least one online course.

Download the full study here.

Technology has been heralded as an avenue for reducing college tuition. What tools have you found to be cost-effective for faculty and students?

<p>Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>
Dec 06 2012

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