While minorities worry more than whites about paying for higher education, a new survey finds that Latinos, Asian-Americans and African-Americans are more likely to see value in the investment for themselves and for the country overall.
Results of a College Board/National Journal poll released Thursday reveal that most minorities (70 percent of Hispanics, 61 percent of Asians, and 55 percent of blacks) agreed that "young people today need a four-year college degree in order to be successful." Just 47 percent of whites endorsed that sentiment, down from 57 percent last year.
The survey also discovered minorities were far more likely than whites to say the economy would benefit if the United States meets President Obama's goal of increasing the numbers of Americans with postsecondary degrees by 2020.
Interviews with survey poll respondents showed that skepticism about the value of college was rooted in the difficulties many young graduates have faced in the job market.
The poll also captured a shift in college expectations that vary by race and ethnicity.
Large majorities of nonwhite Americans with college degrees (84 percent) and without them (69 percent) said their parents had encouraged them to pursue higher education. While 87 percent of whites with a degree also said their parents had encouraged them to obtain it, just 51 percent of those without degrees said they had received such encouragement.
There is a greater push for higher education among younger Americans. Nearly three-fourths of whites and nonwhites younger than 50 reported that their parents encouraged them to attend college, according to the survey.
Americans from all backgrounds agreed the number one reason students drop out of college is that they can no longer pay for school.
When asked whether "children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have an equal opportunity to succeed," 69 percent of Asian-Americans, 64 percent of whites, 61 percent of Hispanics, and 55 percent of African-Americans agreed.
The poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and included responses by phone from 1,272 adults ages 18 and older who were surveyed in mid-October.