Americans’ Confidence In Higher Education Plummets To New Lows

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Brandon Poulter Contributor
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U.S. adults’ confidence in higher education is hitting new lows, according to a Tuesday Gallup poll.

The percentage of respondents that responded to having “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of trust fell from 57% in 2015 to 36% in 2023, according to the poll. Americans who reported “some” or “very little” trust, however, rose from 42% to 62%. (RELATED: While Students Flee Public Universities, Christian Schools Are Only Getting Bigger)

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 23: A student walks near Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA on April 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Trust in higher education among Americans with no college degree fell from 54% in 2015 to 29% in 2023, while trust among those with a postgraduate degree decreased from 67% to 50%, according to Gallup.

Republicans saw the largest decrease in trust in higher education, with the percentage of respondents dropping from 56% in 2015 to 19% in 2023, according to the poll. Democrats’ trust in higher education also declined, dropping from 68% in 2015 to 59% in 2023.

The higher education polling numbers come from a larger set of data regarding Americans’ trust in institutions that Gallup measured in June, according to its report. Higher education ranked fourth among 17 considered institutions behind small businesses, the military and the police.

Gallup did not ask about the reasons for the decline, but estimated that the increased costs to obtain a college education “play a significant role,” according to its report. Gallup polling from 2017 found that Democrats cited high cost for their lack of confidence, while Republicans cited concern about politics.

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