ERIC Number: ED451778
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Taking Stock: How Americans Judge Quality, Affordability, and Leadership at U.S. Colleges and Universities.
Ikenberry, Stanley O.; Hartle, Terry W.
This report provides a snapshot of public attitudes toward and knowledge of higher education based on a national telephone survey of 850 U.S. adults. Americans continued to place high social value on a college education, but there was little evidence that Americans wish to pursue knowledge for its own sake. Access to postsecondary education was seen as the passport to a better life, but a better life defined almost exclusively in economic terms. The public believed that colleges and universities offer high-quality programs and was enthusiastic about career training and lifelong learning opportunities. Paying for college remained a major concern, although Americans were less worried about financing an education than they were in January 1998. Respondents believed that colleges do not keep tuition at an affordable level, and almost three-quarters of them thought colleges could reduce tuition without lowering the quality of education that students receive. The public still badly overestimates what it costs to attend college, especially with regard to community colleges. Public cost estimates were more accurate for 4-year, private colleges. More people than in 1998 knew how to get information about financial aid. The public knew little about college presidents, but expected colleges and universities to play an active role in the community. Survey respondents were skeptical of distance learning and the emphasis placed on college athletics, but they expressed strong support for university research. Communication was the key link between the strengths and weaknesses identified in these survey results. An appendix contains the survey findings item-by-item. (Contains 11 figures.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Adults, Attitudes, College Athletics, Distance Education, Higher Education, Knowledge Level, Paying for College, Public Opinion, Telephone Surveys, Values
American Council on Education, Fulfillment Services, Department 191, Washington, DC 20055-0191 ($15; multiple copies, $10). Tel: 301-604-9073; Fax: 301-604-0158.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Council on Education, Washington, DC.