Repository of Third Way’s Higher Education Public Opinion Research
Each year, nearly 20 million students attend colleges and universities across the United States, with taxpayers investing $120 billion to those institutions – making higher education one of the biggest investments someone can make in their lifetime. And yet, only half of students that start college ever finish (a statistic that becomes even more abysmal for low-income students and students of color), and students who don’t finish are three times as likely to default on their loans. Despite the stark realities of higher education’s leaky pipeline, advocates and policymakers continue to face roadblocks when talking about the need to strengthen accountability in higher education. To move the needle on these conversations, Third Way, in partnership with Global Strategy Group, has undertaken a multi-year, multi-round public opinion research project to learn how a variety of key audiences (including students, likely voters, parents, business leaders, institutional leaders, and more) talk about improving outcomes and holding institutions accountable. This series of research aims to highlight how stakeholders view our nation’s higher education system, and offers insight into how to shift the narrative from one that focuses solely on cost, to one that centers around the importance of getting all students both to and through college.