Do You Need a College Degree to Succeed in Life?

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

While many Americans agree that there are lots of well-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree, most also believe that it is easier to succeed in life with one. This new survey explores how American views on higher education differ by age, gender, generation and region.

In fall 2021, there were nearly 15 million undergraduate students enrolled in 4-year institutions, while more than 4 million were pursuing a graduate degree. Most of the undergraduates are enrolled at public schools; the rest are attending private, nonprofit schools.

Americans have long held a strong belief that a college education is an investment in their future. But some say that the quality of a college degree has eroded over time, and others disagree that it’s necessary for financial stability. The survey asks Americans to weigh in on a variety of questions about the current state of higher education, including whether a college education is worth the money; what role parents should play in selecting colleges; and how well-prepared students are for the workforce.

The term “college” is used so frequently in our country that people don’t often think about the difference between a college and a university. Universities are generally large, and they offer both undergrad and graduate degrees. Colleges can be either public or private, and they often specialize in certain academic areas. Some, like the liberal arts colleges that are what most people picture when they hear the word “college,” provide a broad range of courses while other colleges focus on vocational or specialized programs.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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