Survey: College Increasingly Important But Pricey

A new survey finds more Americans than ever believe a college degree is the path to success, but about two-thirds also believe that higher education is priced out of reach for some qualified students.

The survey, by the groups Public Agenda and the National Center
in Public Policy, reflects public anxiety about college affordability during the current recession.

In the 2000 version of the survey, just 31 percent of respondents called a college degree the only way to succeed in America. That figure jumped to 50 percent in 2007 and 55 percent in the latest survey. It was conducted late last month.

Perceptions about access to higher education are moving in the other direction. Just 30 percent agreed that almost anyone who needs financial aid for college can find it, down from 38 percent in 2007.

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