Poll: Californians think higher ed is too expensive, love the quality

belushi collegeCalifornians are concerned over the cost of the state’s public colleges and universities, just as two of the state’s three higher-education systems are considering tuition increases.

In fact, only 13 percent of Californians say it’s not a problem, while 57 percent say it’s a big problem, according to a poll released Thursday night by the Public Policy Institute of California. 

Just below half of Californians think affordability is the biggest issue facing California’s higher-education systems, while only 15 percent think quality is the top problem. 

“With many Californians saying that affordability is the most important problem facing public higher education, there is overwhelming support for free community college and for expanding student scholarships,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO.

Paying for it?

Both the Cal State and the University of California systems are considering tuition increases. And while that is sure to be unpopular, Californians don’t seem to like the alternatives: 74 percent oppose increasing student fees, 50 percent oppose higher taxes, and 50 percent oppose increasing tuition for out-of-state students.

But despite opposing higher taxes, strong majorities of Californians support increased government funding to make college more affordable — 73 percent of adults think community college should be free, while 82 percent of adults want the government to pay for more scholarships and grants for students attending four-year institutions. 

School bond

To fund new construction projects, 65 percent of Californians support a bond measure for higher-education facilities. That outpaces November’s results, when 55 percent of voters approved a $9-billion construction bond for K-12 and community colleges. 

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