3 Numbers On Americans’ Higher Education Perceptions

By Katy Hopkins, Communications Staff 

Dynamic speaker and Gallup Education Executive Director Brandon Busteed addressed NASFAA Leadership and Legislative Conference and Expo attendees Monday to share some insights on how Americans perceive higher education.

These figures, according to Gallup polls, help to shed some light on public opinion:

1. 95 percent: The number of Americans polled who say they value education beyond high school. “Here’s the good news,” Busteed said, “Americans still value higher education.” Many define quality education as the degree to which students land good jobs, he added.

2. 3: The number of emotional support experiences while in college that Gallup found increase, by three times, the likelihood students will later thrive: 

  • They had a professor who made them excited about learning (63 percent polled said they strongly agreed they did.)
  • They felt professor cared about them as people (27 percent strongly agreed.)
  • They had a mentor that encouraged their goals and dreams (22 percent strongly agreed.)

Just 14 percent of graduates said they strongly agreed they experienced all three. Institution type did not affect the student outcomes, Busteed noted, though some specific institutions are doing much better than others on these metrics.

3. 25 years (or more): The length of time holding student debt can affect a borrower’s financial well-being. “The more student loan debt you graduate with, the less likely you are to be thriving in your well-being,” Busteed added. According to Gallup research, borrowers at least $50,000 in debt are less likely than their debt-free peers to be thriving in four categories Gallup defines as elements of well-being: purpose, financial, community, and physical.

Busteed was one of several speakers during the Legislative Symposium at NASFAA’s Leadership and Legislative Conference and Expo. Stay tuned to Today’s News for more conference coverage.


Publication Date: 3/3/2015

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