America’s colleges are harming the country, the majority of Republicans now say. It’s a strong downward slide in public opinion that, some experts fear, could exacerbate growing divides among Americans and lead to higher levels of student debt.
The conclusion, from a Monday report by the Pew Research Center in Washington, based on a June survey of 2,504 adults, reflects a reversal from just two years ago, when 54 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning Americans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going in the country.
Donald Moynihan, a professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he worries that Republican-dominated legislatures could act on their low regard for public colleges and universities by slashing their funding, resulting in tuition increases that would swell levels of student debt already at record levels. Republicans control most state legislatures, governorships, both houses of Congress and the White House, though Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has focused much of her first five months in office on making life easier for the nation’s colleges by eliminating “burdensome” rules developed by the Obama administration.
The negative sentiment among Republicans is widely shared across various income, education and age groups—even 63 percent of Republican bachelor’s degree holders say colleges are having an adverse impact—with just three exceptions: Fewer than half of Republicans aged 18 to 29, those whose family income is less than $30,000, and those who identify as moderate or liberal members of the GOP felt that higher education institutions are damaging the country.
You can read the full article at Most Republicans Say Colleges Hurt America
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