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Stockton poll: College is worth it

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Amid the current backdrop of a national discussion on student loan reform, the Stockton Polling Institute found an overwhelming majority of people, some 90 percent, agreed college was ultimately worth the cost.

Stockton polled more than 800 New Jersey residents on the value of college. These graduates link their collegiate background to the ability to find jobs, expand careers and provide a better life for their families.

"New Jerseyans see the state's colleges and universities as having high quality, as well as high value, even with their consistent concerns about college affordability," said Darryl G. Greer, senior fellow for Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance. He added that these state residents “have specific ideas about what students and colleges need to do to increase value — principally, to partner with business to create more practical in-college experiences, such as internships.”

Within the poll, 77 percent said New Jersey colleges were of high quality, with 86 percent agreeing four-year schools have a higher quality over two-year schools. Some areas of possible improvement include: easier credit transfers (34 percent) and more functional experiences, including internships (31 percent).

Despite the overwhelming majority in support of the value of higher education, nearly as many (87 percent) stated some sort of change is needed in the way colleges conduct business to increase their value.

The poll was conducted as a part of the Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance project, whose mission is to “serve as an agent for constructive higher education policy change, aligned with a public agenda to serve the public good.”

According to Greer, the next steps include offering specific policy recommendations to universities, state policymakers, and business leaders regarding these possible improvements in the area of higher education. Other areas of discussion include access and affordability.

The poll was conducted at the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy by live callers who reached out to 801 adult New Jersey residents based on random selection. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 with a 95 percent confidence level. United States Census Bureau demographics for the New Jersey population were utilized for the weighting of data.


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