Industry Market Trends

Education Poll: Minorities Most Optimistic About the Value of a College Degree

Nov 13, 2013

A large segment of minorities believe the path to success starts with a college education, but less than half of white adults share that sentiment, according to a recently released College Board/National Journal Next America Poll.

The survey of 1,272 adults aged 18 and older provides insight into the assessment of the paths to opportunities in America. While all of the participants -- whites, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans -- agree that the country provides opportunities for young adults from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to succeed, the findings show a disparity when it comes to the perception of the value of a college degree among these different groups.

While college can lead to monetary success and more opportunities to a better career path, minorities regard education with the most optimism.

More than half of the respondents agree that young people today need a four-year degree to be successful; 46 percent disagree. But only 47 percent of white adults said that a college degree is a ticket to success, versus 55 percent of African-Americans, 61 percent of Asians, and 70 percent of Hispanics.

The findings also reflect a notable drop in confidence among all groups who correlate a college education with success -- falling from 61 percent in 2012 to 52 percent this year.

Shifting opinions about the value of a degree come amid reports that reflect soaring student debt -- averaging $27,000 per student last year.

There was also a disparity among viewpoints on the topic of "spending more on education." Fifty-seven percent of Asians, 72 percent of African Americans, and 67 percent of Hispanics believe that a better educated workforce fosters economic growth. Only half of the white participants share that opinion.

Other reports show minority groups are putting their opinions about college into action. An article by Diverse Education reports that the rate at which Black and Latino students entered four-year colleges and universities between 2009 and 2011 considerably outpaced white students.

However, minorities are more likely than whites to point to high tuition costs and inadequate preparation as reasons for dropping out of college The Next America Poll found.