February 5, 2013
In my previous job working for a U.S. Senator from Nebraska, I got to know the Gallup organization well. They are a great Nebraska company and a global leader in research and analytics. The Gallup World Poll should be required reading for anyone looking for insights into attitudes and behaviors around the world.
Today, Gallup released eye-opening poll results from a survey they did in conjunction with the Lumina Foundation on attitudes toward American higher education. The poll demonstrated the degree to which Americans value a postsecondary degree and the significance of affordability in education. These are both issues of great importance to Capella as we continue our efforts to provide affordable degrees to working adults that deliver a lasting return on investment for the education dollar.
While these issues are important, the poll results aren’t surprising. What wasn’t necessarily expected was the degree to which Americans are looking for flexibility in their education.
Consider these results:
-Americans express strong support for redesigning pathways to higher education attainment. When asked whether they think students should be able to receive college credit for knowledge and skills acquired outside the classroom, nine in 10 (87%), say yes.
-75% of Americans indicate that they would be more likely to enroll in a higher education program if they could be evaluated and receive credit for what they already know. While younger adults were more likely than older adults to say they would be more likely to enroll, a majority in all age groups, including those aged 65 and older, indicate they would be more likely to enroll.
-Nearly as many (70%) favor awarding college credit based on mastery of course content, rather than on time spent in the classroom.
These results are profoundly important in driving the innovation that will lead to increased flexibility, access, work skills and affordability in higher education. With the debate over reauthorization of the federal law governing higher education on the horizon, this survey helps frame that debate around the potential for innovation to address these key issues. For a competency-based institution like Capella that is at the front end of this kind of innovation, today’s news is an important validation that we’re headed in the right direction.
Gallup and Lumina have made an important contribution to that conversation. I hope these poll results get the attention they deserve.
What are your thoughts on the survey results?