Policymakers and experts overwhelmingly agree that the United States needs more people with college degrees or other postsecondary credentials. Public Agenda, with support from The Kresge Foundation, conducted a representative survey of U.S. adults, so that higher education reform efforts can be informed by and responsive to the needs and perspectives of the American public.

Main findings include:

  1. Americans are losing confidence in the necessity of a college education for success in the workforce.
  2. Most Americans think that colleges should prepare students for jobs and careers.
  3. Americans view college preparation and higher education finances as serious problems.
  4. Most Americans favor requiring colleges to publicly report graduation rates. Fewer favor punishing colleges with low graduation and job placement rates.
  5. Americans are divided by age and political affiliation regarding free college for low- and middle-income students.