graduation cap next to rolled diploma on stone table

The Future of Higher Education

While the world of higher education faces challenges, there is a great deal of potential success for institutions of higher education.  

In this national Marist Poll, conducted as part of a presentation for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) 2023 Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, nearly two in three Americans (65%) consider college to be an important way to get a job and improve one’s position in life. A majority (55%) think people with a four-year college education are better off, financially, and 58% have a favorable impression of four-year colleges and universities in the United States.  

While public polling has shown that a growing number of Americans are questioning the financial benefit of a four-year college education, there is more to the story. In this post-COVID era, people are questioning their life choices and priorities. They are increasingly turning an eye toward self-fulfillment, work-life balance, and self-care, not just the bottom line.    

When asked about the main benefit of a college education, “expanded career options” is the most cited, followed closely by “personal growth and development.” Vying for the number three spot are “increased earning potential” and “critical thinking skills.”  

Regarding the Pell Grant program, Americans overwhelmingly support (74%) a proposal to double the annual grant. This support cuts across most groups including political party and level of education. For instance, 57% of Republicans back doubling Pell Grants.