RALEIGH (Nov. 28, 2018) – North Carolinians think increased educational opportunity will help them and their state advance – yet they have substantial concerns about cost and access.
Those are among the findings of a Gallup survey for the myFutureNC Commission, a group of leaders from education, business, nonprofits and the faith and policy communities. The commission aims to recommend a statewide educational attainment goal and plan in January.
“Sixty-four percent of North Carolinians believe it is important to increase the number of adults who complete a degree or certificate after high school. As employers, we couldn’t agree more, and that’s why the work of the myFutureNC Commission is so important,” said Co-Chair Andrea Smith, CAO of Bank of America.
Contrary to headlines about rising skepticism about the value of higher education, the poll found North Carolinians have a strong belief in the importance of higher education and the ability of education to secure good jobs.
“North Carolina residents really see higher education as the path – the way – to success,” Gallup Research Director Sofia Kluch told the myFutureNC Commission during a preview of the findings last month in Asheville.
- 94% said it is important or very important for adults to have education beyond high school.
- 64% said it is important or very important to increase the number of adults with a college degree.
- 58% are satisfied with the availability of public colleges and universities.
- More than 7 in 10 give NC community colleges an “A” or a “B.”
- 70% give the state’s public universities an “A” or a “B.”
- 64% believe a four-year college education has a substantial impact on an individual’s success.
“We’re pleased but not satisfied with this poll and what it shows,” said Co-Chair and UNC System President Margaret Spellings.
“It’s clear we have the ingredients to build a college-going culture in all 100 counties, as North Carolinians see college as a path that works for them. But to finish the job and truly provide all North Carolinians the opportunity they deserve, we must tackle our most pressing issues of equity and cost.”
The survey also revealed North Carolinians’ concerns about education:
- Fewer than half gave K-12 public schools an “A” or a “B.”
- 53% disagree that all students in North Carolina receive the same quality of education regardless of their background.
- 46% believe education beyond high school is not available to anyone in the state who wants it.
- 76% say lack of funding is the biggest challenge faced by K-12 schools, followed by the quality of teachers (56%).
- Nearly four in 10 say transferring credits is a major reason students don’t complete community-college degrees.
- 41% are dissatisfied with the affordability of public universities.
- Nearly eight in 10 North Carolinians say cost is a major reason students don’t finish four-year degrees.
“We are pleased to see that North Carolinians hold our community colleges in high esteem,” said Peter Hans, President of the NC Community College System.
“We also know there are areas where we must continue to improve. That’s why North Carolina’s community colleges are striving to simplify processes and better align with our education partners to accelerate student completion of workforce credentials.”
The survey included mail responses from 3,456 North Carolina residents from July 31-September 6, 2018. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.3%.