A new poll out of California shows that just 35 percent of white people view a college education as necessary in today’s society.
The poll, by the Public Policy Institute of California, reveals notable racial gaps on the value of a college degree. Just over half of black survey respondents (51 percent) view a college degree as necessary. A slightly higher percentage of Asian-Americans — 54 percent — say college is necessary.
By contrast, the survey found that Latinos are big believers in higher education. Two-thirds of Latino survey takers (67 percent) say they believe a college education as necessary.
Just over half of the Democrats surveyed (51 percent) say a college degree is vital for a good career.
On the other hand, 67 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents are confident that college is not necessary to find professional success.
Overall, half of California’s adults — and just 43 percent of its likely voters — say they think a college degree is necessary for professional success.
The Public Policy Institute of California poll also shows that a majority of Californians — 56 percent — think a college education is not affordable at the state’s several public colleges and universities. Three-fourths of the survey respondents say high costs hamper some qualified students. Almost 80 percent say students have to borrow too much money for college.
A sizeable majority of California’s residents (62 percent) think public funding for higher education is too low, according to the survey.
At the same time, fully 40 percent of likely voters say California’s public higher education system wastes a bunch of money.
Democrats and independent voters are far more likely than Republican voters to believe that state funding for colleges and universities is insufficient, according to the poll results.
For its poll, the Public Policy Institute surveyed 1,703 adult residents of California in mid-October. About 60 percent of the surveys were conducted via mobile phones. The rest of the surveys were conducted on landline phones. Surveys lasted an average of 19 minutes.
The Public Policy Institute of California bills itself as independent and nonpartisan. The San Francisco-based think tanks was founded in 1994 thanks to a $70 million endowment by William Redington Hewlett, a co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company.