“Making higher education more affordable” tops the list of solutions that the public believes would help people become more economically secure, according to a new Public Agenda survey, “Slip-Sliding Away: An Anxious Public Talks about Today’s Economy and the American Dream.”
The New York City-based Public Agenda finds four in 10 Americans are struggling to pay bills and worried about maintaining a middle-class life.
“Even with their short-term worries about paying the bills, the public’s biggest concerns are about affording college and a secure retirement, and they put their faith in long-term solutions like making higher education affordable, job training and preserving Social Security and Medicare,” according to the think tank’s study funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Indeed, 63% of Americans say “making higher education affordable would be “very effective” in helping those who are struggling economically, compared with 48% who name cutting taxes for the middle class and 40% who cite reducing the federal deficit.
One reason Public Agenda posits for the faith in education: the public’s perception of who’s struggling the most in the current economy. Three-quarters of Americans say people without college degrees are struggling, compared with just half who say college graduates are struggling.