Public Perceptions of Higher Education

Public debates about the role and cost of higher education lead to questions about how the public views higher education and about the implications of these views for policymaking. These questions have taken on particular importance in recent decades, with demands for greater accountability for the use of taxpayer funds across all aspects of government expenditure and concerns over whether too many graduates end up in jobs that do not require higher education.

When discussing public perceptions of higher education, one first needs to differentiate amongst the various publics, as there are variations by age, education level, and political view. One might contrast the perceptions of the privileged exam-passing classes of broadly left-leaning metropolitan areas with those of people who are more conservative, older, and less ...

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