Global Competition: Colleges Must Adapt –

The majority of Americans supports the nation’s higher education system while a majority of young adults are in favor of online college degrees, according to a poll conducted by FTI Consulting and released Nov. 27 by Northeastern University.

The national poll, which was conducted in October, finds that approximately half of American adults considers the current state of U.S. higher education as “excellent” or “good.”

An overwhelming majority of respondents believe a college education is important for finding and being successful at a job, for experiencing personal development, and for providing critical intellectual benefits. Sixty-three percent of all respondents and 62% of adults aged 18-30 believe college graduates who enter the workforce today are more well-rounded and better prepared to meet challenges than those who did not graduate college.

In regard to online education, 49% overall and 61% of adults aged 18-30 “totally agree” that online college degrees provide a similar quality of education compared to traditional campuses, while 56% overall and 72% of adults aged 18-30 “totally agree” an online college degree is more practical and feasible than a degree earned on campus.

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However, the poll also revealed that Americans (83% overall and 90% of adults aged 18-30) think there need to be some changes made in the U.S. higher education system to remain globally competitive. Eighty-one percent overall and 88% of adults aged 18-30 “totally agree” that the government needs to invest more in the higher education system, while 66% overall and 78% of adults aged 18-30 “totally agree” that cuts in funding to public colleges and universities have lowered the country’s standing as a global leader in education.

Other findings show that the majority of adults are in favor of granting credit for prior work experience, teaching students about entrepreneurship and business start-ups, providing alternative ways to attend classes (including satellite campuses and online), and providing opportunities for working professionals to gain new skills to re-enter the workforce.

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