How Do Americans Feel About College? The Princeton Review Asked.

Americans get really worried about college. Potential college students are mostly worried about where they’ll get in. Their parents are mostly concerned about how they’ll pay for it.

But what, specifically, is everyone concerned about? The Princeton Review is on the case. According to a survey recently published by the organization, which surveyed incoming college students and their parents,

Among respondents overall, the plurality (39%)’s biggest concern is the “Level of debt…to pay for the degree.” This was also the biggest concern in 2013, whereas as for the six years prior, from 2012 back to 2007, the biggest concern among the plurality (34%) was “Will get into their first choice college but won’t have sufficient funds/aid to attend it.” In 2006, the biggest concern among the plurality (34%) was “Won’t get into first-choice college.”

Oh, look, “won’t get into first-choice college.” Ah, the quaint worries of pre-Great Recession America.

Almost 80 percent of respondents indicated the state of the economy has impacted their decisions about college. Oddly, only 73 percent of parents reported this concern, while it was a worry of 79 percent of students. Princeton Review didn’t ask this question before 2013, however, so we can’t compare this over time.

The majority of respondents, 51 percent, saw the main benefit of a college degree as “a potentially better job, higher income and income. Only about 25 percent of respondents saw “education” as the major benefit. About the same percentage indicated that the major reason for college was “exposure to new ideas.”

The survey also indicated that 100 percent of respondents believed that college would be “worth it.”

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer