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Gallup: Confidence in Higher Education at Historic Low

Gallup: Confidence in Higher Education at Historic Low

“The poll was conducted in June and found only 36 percent of Americans have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in higher education, down about 20 percentage points from eight years ago.”

New polling from Gallup has found that Americans’ confidence in higher education is at a historic low, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.

Colleges and universities have become little more than left-wing indoctrination centers, and while confidence is low, the price is way up.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

American Confidence in Higher Ed Hits Historic Low

Americans’ confidence in higher education is at an all-time low, according to a Gallup poll released today.

The poll was conducted in June and found only 36 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education, down about 20 percentage points from eight years ago. Prior measurements of public confidence in the nation’s colleges and universities found significantly higher levels in 2015 (57 percent) and 2018 (48 percent).

Researchers and education policy experts say college and university administrators and other higher ed officials should take notice of the sharp decline, especially because it was consistently high among all major subgroups of those polled.

The experts also noted, however, that the survey data are in line with other measurements of the overall decline of public trust in institutions as a whole.

That last point is absolutely correct. Confidence is down across many of our institutions. Professor Jacobson recently wrote extensively about that very topic.

Here’s more on the higher education poll, directly from Gallup:

Americans’ Confidence in Higher Education Down Sharply

Americans’ confidence in higher education has fallen to 36%, sharply lower than in two prior readings in 2015 (57%) and 2018 (48%). In addition to the 17% of U.S. adults who have “a great deal” and 19% “quite a lot” of confidence, 40% have “some” and 22% “very little” confidence.

The latest decline in the public’s trust in higher education is from a June 1-22 Gallup poll that also found confidence in 16 other institutions has been waning in recent years. Many of these entities, which are tracked more often than higher education, are now also at or near their lowest points in confidence. Although diminished, higher education ranks fourth in confidence among the 17 institutions measured, with small business, the military and the police in the top three spots. This was also the case in 2018, the last time higher education was included in the list of institutions.

In 2015, majorities of Americans in all key subgroups expressed confidence in higher education, with one exception — independents (48%). By 2018, though, confidence had fallen across all groups, with the largest drop, 17 percentage points, among Republicans. In the latest measure, confidence once again fell across the board, but Republicans’ sank the most — 20 points to 19%, the lowest of any group. Confidence among adults without a college degree and those aged 55 and older dropped nearly as much as Republicans’ since 2018.

If higher education wants to turn this around, they might start by emphasizing the importance of free speech, and not shouting down campus speakers as part of an angry mob. Just a thought.


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Morning Sunshine | July 13, 2023 at 10:07 am

down TWENTY points from 5 years ago? That is not nothing! in fact, that is huge.

I have never been a homeschool mom “preparing my kids for college” but I was the weird one, the unenlightened one (despite, according to the world’s view, my BA is from one of the more elite and “better:” colleges).
But in my recent talks with homeschool moms – more and more are coming my way, even moms I would never have suspected to feel this way.

*I always said I was giving them a great education, so if they decided to go to college, they would have the tools to get in and thrive. And if they have a plan and a NEED for college (veterinary school, for example), I would help with that. But no K-MA pipeline here

    nordic prince in reply to Morning Sunshine. | July 13, 2023 at 2:29 pm


    We homeschooled our kids; DD is interested in becoming an engineer so the benefit/necessity of college is clear, but DS is interested in entrepreneurship, and has zero desire to attend college.

    The value of a college degree has been overinflated for some years, but at least in the wake of “covid” people are now wising up to the higher education scam.

E Howard Hunt | July 13, 2023 at 10:18 am

Today’s colleges would shock Nellie Bly.

JohnSmith100 | July 13, 2023 at 10:25 am

A big part of high costs are additions of useless majors and departments and massive administration bloat. Universities need someone at the top with corporate restructuring experience, where at least 50% of management is axed. A bunch departments need to go.

    nordic prince in reply to JohnSmith100. | July 13, 2023 at 2:38 pm

    Administrative bloat is a HUGE money pit for most schools, including K-12. Take a look at the published salaries of your local school district, and remember that the next time they moan about teachers having to spend their own money to buy classroom supplies or try to pass a school referendum “for the kids” because the classes are “overcrowded” so they “need” more teachers.

    Probably north of 50% of the school district’s salaries are spent on administrative (non-teaching) positions. With DEI scams I’m sure it’s only gotten worse.

      txvet2 in reply to nordic prince. | July 13, 2023 at 3:47 pm

      All true, and every election when the PTB propose an increase in school taxes, the lemmings vote to pass it.

      buck61 in reply to nordic prince. | July 13, 2023 at 5:06 pm

      much of that bloat is to satisfy the mandates put onto schools by federal, state and local governments. You want the money you play by our rules.

    buck61 in reply to JohnSmith100. | July 13, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    too much duplication of programs at far too many universities, especially the state ones. How many need a history department, performing arts, foreign languages, gender studies. Depending on the size of the state 1-3 of those type of programs should be enough.

The President’s annual letter to alumni removes all doubt. A black woman is fine but can’t they find an intelligent one?

Many years ago I was an adjunct Chemistry professor at a satellite campus of the state university and I resigned over the fact that I was not allowed to fail a student who was heads and shoulders behind every other student in this graduate level class. The university later hired the student I was forced to pass to teach the course. Later I was asked to teach high school Chemistry because I was a retired Ph.D. research chemist and they could find no one else. I was told I would eventually need a teaching certificate to continue teaching so I talked to the local university about entering their Masters program in Education. They demanded I take the GRE to prove to them I was able to handle the subject matter. They had no answer when I asked them if having a Ph.D. in Chemistry wasn’t proof enough of my ability to “handle the material”. I neither taught nor tried to enter the Masters program. Colleges are corrupt and incompetent beyond all reason.

JackinSilverSpring | July 13, 2023 at 1:34 pm

What ever the Left touched, it ultimately destroys.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | July 13, 2023 at 1:47 pm

The universities will never lift a finger to make their service more affordable as long as Uncle Sugar keeps giving out more and more taxpayer money.

Many American parents still seem to be unable or unwilling to believe the reality of higher education today.

Stuff and nonsense!

For the vast majority of Americans between , say, ~14 and ~24, here’s a plan that will set you on a solid path to a debt-free life of success and self-sufficiency. I’ve seen it work:

(1) Become fluent in a 2nd language. For one example, perhaps Spanish. Start online. A few hours per day.. Nobody can learn another language an hour every day or two. Commit to eventually passing the DELE or SIELE C-level exam. You want to have the option of attending college or working in your 2nd language. You CAN become fluent in a 2nd language but you have to be grownup about it.

(2) Learn how to do something/anything that’ll get you experience in the grown-up world and that will get you paid. Waiter. Bartender. Au pair. ESL teacher. Commercial driver. Other. You can still live w your parents, but you must get started earning $$. In the ensuing months you’ll start to command more pay because you’ll get better and better at your job.

Within a few years you can choose college overseas in your 2nd language. College overseas can be remarkably inexpensive — do your own research.

Or just go to work either overseas or back in the U.S.
Opportunities will present themselves. I promise )if you handle yourself in a reasonably responsible manner)

At worst ,you can always attend college or grad school back in America if you want to.

There are many, many options/variations on this basic idea.

All of these options are a lot more fun and interesting than anything that any college in America can possibly offer


In 2023 if you still believe that a non-STEM degree from an American college is a path to future success then , well, then you still believe that Santa Claus is planning to come to your town this December.

Very curious how all these polls and surveys reveal voter disfaction in just about everything, but then elections are “so close” that we need an “election month” intstead of an “election day”.

In other words: voting in this country is so perfectly rigged that the uni-party never loses. And if an interloper like Trump comes in, he goes to prison. We are now Latin America, and El Salvador has become America.

Most fish need a good 24-gear hard-tail mountain bicycle more than most Americans need what American colleges have to offer.

h/t Gloria

36% still trust higher education. Is that how many have never spent even a day in college classes?

    ConradCA in reply to markm. | July 13, 2023 at 9:40 pm

    That’s the hardcore progressive fascists who are happy that higher education is progressive fascist.

BierceAmbrose | July 13, 2023 at 10:53 pm

And yet, ever more jobs, ever more access to govt programs, licensing required to for example thread eyebrows, requrie a degree for access.

Only a fraction believe in the value of higher ed? It isn’t how many, but who believes it, and why.