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Why Don't More Americans Have a College Degree? Too Costly, Survey Finds

new survey of Americans without a college degree finds that most believe that education beyond high school is necessary, but too expensive.

The American Enterprise Institute asked 1,500 adults who lacked a college degree to weigh in on their perceptions of higher education and published the results in a report  released April 20.

It found 60 percent of respondents agreed that the idea of college is worth the cost, yet the high price tag was the number one reason people cited for not enrolling.

About 43 percent of survey participants indicated they were satisfied with their level of education, although 84 percent believed that some form of postsecondary education was needed to get a new job.

The report, by AEI's Andrew Kelly, revealed a lack of understanding, however, about true college costs and benefits. For instance, about 51 percent of the adults polled overestimated the cost of tuition and fees at a nearby community college and 28 percent were not able to come up with an estimate, according to AEI, a Washington-based ressearch organization. Many adults without a degree who were surveyed also said they were uncertain about the wage returns from different postsecondary credentials.

These results come on the heels of a report released by Gallup and Lumina last week that shows Americans increasingly say boosting college completion in the country is an important goal for the nation.

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