Young adults agree that college is becoming increasingly unaffordable in today's economy even as it is becoming more important, according to a recent poll released on Wednesday by Demos and Young Invincibles, two research and advocacy groups.
The survey, conducted a little over a month ago, was administered by telephone to 872 people ages 18 to 34.
"This is the most comprehensive poll of young people that has been done," said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, during a news conference on Wednesday. Her company designed and administered the survey in collaboration with Bellwether Research and Consulting.
Roughly three out of four respondents said that college had become harder to afford in the past five years, and that graduates bore unmanageable amounts of student-loan debt. About 80 percent said they believe higher education is more important today than it was for their parents' generation, and nearly nine out of 10 supported increasing student aid and making college loans more affordable.
"You can see across the board there is strong concern with being able to afford college," said Christine Matthews, president of Bellwether Research and Consulting. "Nearly three-fourths of young Americans say they are graduating with too much debt."
The vast majority of respondents also voiced concern about the economy, with more than 90 percent saying job creation should be a strong priority for Congress. Fewer than one in three reported earning more than $30,000 during the previous year, and 36 percent said they had lived at home with their parents at some point in the last 12 months. Almost 30 percent said they had more than $10,000 of debt, and about a quarter said they had received significant financial help from their parents, other than a free place to live, in the last year.