Until recently, higher education commanded a good standing in public opinion polls. According to a 2013 Gallup-Lumina Foundation survey, 72 percent of people in the U.S. thought that to have a college degree was “very important,” and 25 percent thought it was “somewhat important.”
However, that good image has been eroding rapidly. According to the results of a 2016 survey funded by the Kresge Foundation, Americans are increasingly uncertain about the necessity of college for success in the workforce. When asked the question, "Do you think that a college education is necessary for a person to be suc- cessful in today's work world?" only 42 percent of Americans said that college is necessary for workforce success – a 13 percent drop from a similar survey in 2009. Fifty-seven percent of Americans said that there are many ways to succeed in today's world without a college degree, 14 percent lower than in 2009.
Romero, Aldemaro Jr., "Higher ed opinions divided along party lines." (2017). CUNY Academic Works.