Most Americans believe that students should finish college with job skills and that institutions of higher learning should be helping to prepare graduates for the workforce, according to annual national survey results released by Public Agenda and the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education.
These findings, which suggest growing unease with the nation’s higher education system, are reported in the 2016 report “Public Opinion on Higher Education.” The report is the latest in a series of tracking surveys on attitudes about higher education that began in 1993.
Preparing students for the job market
Over two thirds of those surveyed (67 percent) believe that students should graduate from college with the skills they need to succeed in the job market. An additional 29 percent deem it "important."
How can schools help students thrive after receiving their degrees? Career counseling and networking opportunities should be offered, according to 86 percent of respondents.
Other survey highlights
The report revealed numerous other concerns related to education among Americans. They include:
- Whether a college education is needed for job success
- The ability of high schools to adequately prepare students for college
- Lack of transparency in graduation rates among institutions of higher learning
Americans also continue to express concerns about the cost of education and how to pay for college. Younger ones are especially worried — respondents between the ages of 18 and 49 think that taxes should help provide free education for low- and middle-income students. More than half (58 percent) of those over age 50 agree.
Those surveyed also worry about state cuts to public education — 43 percent see it as a serious issue. Additionally, they expressed concern about how colleges spend their money, viewing schools as "wasteful" and "inefficient." Respondents betrayed some cynicism in how colleges view their mission:
Furthermore, 59 percent of Americans say colleges today are more like businesses and care mainly about the bottom line, versus 34 percent who say colleges today mainly care about education and making sure students have a good educational experience.
Researchers say the results mark a change in how Americans view higher education. David Schleifer, associate director of research at Public Agenda, says:
[There] was a surprising shift in public opinion after many years in which an increasing proportion of Americans said a college education was necessary to be successful in the workforce. Given their efforts to boost college attainment, it's critical for policymakers and leaders to understand how the public views higher education. Doing so will better enable them to help colleges and universities rebuild faith in higher education as a path to betterment.
Paying for higher education
Another national report called the 2016 College Affordability Diagnosis found that college has become less affordable in most states than it was eight years ago. This has become especially challenging for low- and middle-income families.
College is an investment and can be expensive. Your goal should be to select a college or university that provides a challenging academic program while addressing other important needs such as cost to attend and campus environment. It's also important to consider your job prospects after graduation, along with the resources a school provides to help its graduates find a great career after receiving their degrees.
Massage therapy school costs
Instead of attending a traditional four-year college, consider other avenues in which to pursue a degree. Massage therapy school, for example, costs less than a traditional four-year college, allows students to complete a degree in a much shorter time, and provides a career path to an ever-expanding field.
You could spend less than $11,000 —or about one-third of the annual cost of attending a private university — and obtain in a degree in massage therapy in less than a year.
Many students who apply to attend Acupuncture & Massage College find that they qualify for financial aid to cover the difference between what a college costs and what they can afford to pay.
For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Admissions Inquiry">email our admissions department</a>.