Noteworthy News: Americans Place High Value on College Education, Survey Finds

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WASHINGTON

Americans believe the nation's colleges and universities provide a high-quality education and serve as an economic engine for their home states, according to findings of a national survey released today by the American Council on Education (ACE). However, the public believes future state budget cuts could threaten the educational quality of institutions and limit the economic benefits they provide.

The national survey is the third study ACE has conducted in recent years on public opinion regarding the value, cost and quality of U.S. higher education institutions.

The latest study focuses only on public colleges and universities, while earlier surveys -- conducted in 1998 and 2000 -- examined opinions on all higher education institutions, both public and private.

"In these tough economic times, in which cuts in state appropriations have resulted in funding shortfalls and the need to raise tuition at some public colleges and universities, we wanted to gauge the public's perception of conditions at these schools," says ACE President Dr. David Ward.

Ward added that "states should take into account all of the resources and contributions offered by their public institutions as well as their private colleges. Some states provide students with financial aid to attend either type of institution."

The national survey of 700 U.S. adults was conducted in late October 2001 by KRC Research and Consulting on behalf of ACE.

The survey shows that Americans continue to place a high value on a college education, as 77 percent of those surveyed believe a college education is more important today than it was 10 years ago -- up from 73 percent in 2000. …