Squeeze Play: How Parents and the Public Look at Higher Education Today

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The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education


Traditionally, the United States higher education system has been the envy of the world for its high quality, accessibility to millions of Americans, ability to train generations of skilled workers, and its contribution to creating the vast American middle class. Today, however, higher education is experiencing new pressures. A new generation of students—including many minorities, children of recent immigrants, and middle-aged and older Americans—is seeking access to colleges and universities. This is happening precisely when public funding for higher education seems more strained than ever. Recently, the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education called for reforms such as greater accountability and productivity in higher education. This report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and Public Agenda explores how the American public is thinking about higher education today. Are Americans pleased with the system as it exists, or are they looking for change? How is the system working from the public’s point of view and from the point of view of parents whose children may soon be students?



Higher education reform, higher education funding, minority students, access to higher education, children of immigrants