Americans Overwhelmingly Value Degrees, Gallup-Lumina Survey Finds

BELIEVE IN DEGREES: Some say college degrees are out-of-fashion in today’s economy. A new study conducted by Gallup on behalf of the Lumina Foundation, a foundation working to increase the proportion of Americans with postsecondary credentials, pushes back.

The 2015 Gallup-Lumina Foundation Study of the American Public’s Opinion on Higher Education presents results from Gallup’s fifth annual survey of 1,616 U.S. adults about their perceptions of key higher education issues, especially the value of degree attainment. The survey was conducted in fall of 2015 via phone interviews.

Among key findings from the study:

  • 70 percent of Americans say it is “very important” for adults to have a degree or professional certificate beyond high school—a percentage that has remained near 70 percent since 2012—and 25 percent say it’s “somewhat important.”
  • 70 percent of Americans think having postsecondary education will be “more important” to get a good job in the future; 7 percent believe it will be less important.
  • 72 percent of Americans say individuals themselves are “very responsible” for ensuring that more people in the U.S. complete postsecondary education.
  • 59 percent of Americans believe postsecondary education is available to anyone in the country who needs it.
  • Hispanics (71 percent) and blacks (70 percent) believe at a higher rate than whites (54 percent) that it is “very important” to increase the proportion of people in the U.S. who have a degree or professional certificate beyond high school.

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