The Majority of Americans Still Think College Is a Good Investment

August 1, 2016, 7:41 PM UTC
Group of friends (16-19) studying outdoors
Photograph by Rana Faure—Getty Images

Despite all our griping about how expensive it is, most Americans believe that college is worth the money.

According to a new 1,000-person survey by financial services company Bankrate (RATE), 73% of all Americans believe that education is a sound investment. This conviction is stronger among those who went to college themselves: 89% of graduates say their diplomas were worth paying for.


While survey respondents considered higher education a good use of funds, many still believe it should be free. In general, 62% of Americans say they support making college tuition free to anyone, though, as can be expected, Millennials are most enthusiastic about the idea overall: 79% of Gen Yers surveyed said that college should be free of charge, compared to 64% of Gen Xers and 49% of Baby Boomers.

Political affiliation correlates even more strongly to beliefs about what school should cost. While 81% of Democrats think tuition should be free, only 33% of Republicans agree.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wants to offer students who come from families that make less than $125,000 the chance to go to public colleges and universities for free.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has not made explicit his stance on education, though in an interview with Inside Higher Education, his advisor has said that the candidate wants student loans to originate with banks, not the federal government, according to Education Week.

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