American Confidence in Higher Education Plummets, Reveals Gallup Poll

Sourced from a recent Gallup poll and reported by Desert News, a startling decline in American confidence in higher education has been observed. The survey, conducted from June 1-22, unveils a significant drop in faith towards this sector, affecting Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters alike.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Just over a third of Americans still have substantial confidence in higher education, with the figure standing at a mere 36%.
  • A precipitous drop in high confidence was noted, falling from 57% to 48% between 2015-2018, and plummeting further to 17% this year.
  • All major subgroups, including Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters, exhibited a decrease in confidence, with the most significant decline observed among Republicans.

The research consultant for Gallup, Megan Brenan, noted that “Democrats are now ‘the only key subgroup with majority-level confidence in higher education,'” as cited in an Axios report. In the meantime, about 40% of those surveyed said they have ‘some’ confidence in higher education, and a worrying 22% expressed having ‘very little’ trust. Compared to the figures from 2015, there’s a noticeable dip in confidence across different education levels: about a 10% drop among undergraduates, a 17% drop among postgraduates, and a steep 25% fall among adults who haven’t attended college.

Political Affiliations and Higher Education Confidence

According to the Gallup poll, this year only 19% of Republicans still maintain confidence in higher education, joined by 32% of independent voters and 59% of Democrats. Financial worries linked to higher education were cited by Democrats in previous Gallup polls, while the current study unveiled concerns among Republicans about politics within the education sector.

Despite the slump in confidence, higher education still ranks fourth among the 17 institutions measured by Gallup, trailing behind small businesses, the military, and the police. This low confidence trend mirrors the historic lows in faith in American institutions like the military, Congress, and the Supreme Court.


American confidence in higher education is witnessing a significant decline as all major political subgroups have reported drops in confidence, with Republicans showing the steepest decline. Concerns range from financial worries to political issues within the education sector. Amid these findings, higher education still manages to retain a higher rank on the confidence scale compared to other major institutions.

Is a College Degree Worth the Investment?

As confidence in higher education dwindles, many are left wondering: Is a college degree worth the investment? Considering the current social and economic state of the world, this becomes a particularly legitimate question. Let’s take a look at some arguments surrounding this debate:

Arguments for Investing in a College DegreeArguments Against Investing in a College Degree
1. College graduates typically earn more than those with a high school diploma alone.1.The rising cost of college can lead to significant student debt.
2. Many jobs require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum educational requirement.2. At least four years go into earning a bachelor’s degree, which could be used to gain work experience instead.
3. College provides opportunities for intellectual growth and exposure to diverse ideas and cultures.3.Certain well-paying careers don’t require a college degree, such as trades or entrepreneurial ventures.

Related stories:

The Issue of Changing Academic Performance in Higher Education

70% of Parents Aren’t Prepared To Pay For College

Community Colleges Respond to Growing Demand for Online Learning

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