AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The third annual WGU Texas Higher Education Poll released today shows that a majority of Texans (62 percent) who don't view their job as a career believe they need more education or training to move ahead. Even among those with a college degree, more than half (54 percent) say they require more education.
For three consecutive years, the poll shows that most Texans believe affordability and student debt (73 percent) remain major obstacles to earning a degree among those who lack one. However, of those polled who say student debt is a major problem, 95 percent believe that having a degree beyond high school is either "very important" (72 percent) or "somewhat important" (23 percent.)
"These numbers support what we see every day. Our student body, made up mostly of non-traditional learners, need access to high quality, post-secondary programs that will ultimately increase their earning power," said WGU Texas Chancellor Steven Johnson. "They need a path to higher education that is flexible and affordable, and financial aid to cover the costs of earning their degrees," said Johnson. "WGU Texas is proud to commission this poll as a public service offering lawmakers, the public and the media a snapshot of how Texans view the many aspects surrounding public higher education."
Meanwhile, when it comes to being prepared to attend college, most Texans think their high schools do a good job getting students ready for college-level work. When asked if they would advise a high school senior to go to college, a majority (67 percent) answered "definitely yes."
Additionally, when it comes to getting support to pay for college, the third annual edition of the poll found the share of Texans who think that the state's colleges and universities provide enough financial aid for students wanting to earn a college degree decreasing: from 52 percent in 2015, to 46 percent in 2016, to 40 percent in 2017. When asked about the state's overall investment in higher education, 52 percent of Texans say that state government spends too little, 27 percent say it spends the right amount. Only 7 percent say it spends too much.
The poll, commissioned by the nonprofit, accredited online university and conducted from August 8-15, was drawn from a telephone survey of 800 Texas adults (margin of error +/- 3.46 percent). The survey was designed and conducted by public opinion researchers James Henson, Ph.D. and Joshua Blank, Ph.D.
Despite concerns regarding the state's investment in higher education, Texans have an overall positive view of state-run colleges and universities. In fact, for three consecutive years, this poll has shown that Texans are pleased with their higher education options in the state, with 33 percent saying that their options for attending college in Texas are excellent, 51 percent rating their options as good, while only one percent rated their options as poor.
"The 2017 poll provides a clear view of the importance Texans attach to higher education in all aspects of life," said James Henson, one of the poll's designers. "From the micro-level of personal satisfaction to the macro-level of the development of the state's workforce, Texans believe that good things come from higher education, and believe the state should invest in making post-secondary education accessible to Texans."
Key WGU Texas Higher Education Poll findings and additional resources are available online at http://texas.wgu.edu/poll.
About WGU Texas
WGU Texas is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university established to expand Texans' access to higher education throughout the state. Formed through a partnership between the state of Texas and nationally-recognized Western Governors University, WGU Texas is open to all qualified Texas residents. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. Learn more at texas.wgu.edu or call 1-877-214-7011.
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