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News & Media

APLU Statement on 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index: Vast Majority of Graduates Say College is Worth the Cost

September 29, 2015

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index. The new report released today found that 77 percent of college alumni nationally agree or strongly agree that their college education was worth the cost. At public universities the percentage was even higher, with 80 percent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that their college degree was worth the investment. Just 8 percent of public university alumni surveyed said they disagreed or strongly disagreed that their degree was worth the cost.

“Today’s Gallup-Purdue Index findings underscore the value of a college degree at public institutions.  Many outlets have selectively reported the findings of the Gallup-Purdue Index, focusing only on the responses from the 52 percent of public institution alumni who ‘strongly agreed’ that their college education degree was worth it.  The practical effect of this selective reporting has been a distortion of the survey’s findings.

“After including the 28 percent alumni who agree, a full 80 percent of alumni from public universities agree or strongly agree that their college education was worth the cost.  Only 3 percent strongly disagreed and 5 percent disagreed with the statement that college was worth the cost.  These are the numbers that today’s prospective college students need to know: college graduates overwhelmingly report that higher education is a worthwhile investment of one’s time, effort, and resources. That perception is supported by studies that consistently show higher earnings and career opportunities for college graduates.

"Of course, public universities must continue to contain costs while ensuring the quality of a college degree and they are committed to doing so.  A college degree is a significant investment, but it’s also an investment that yields substantial dividends to both students and our society at large.  About 40 percent of undergraduates at public universities graduate without any debt, and those who do borrow complete college with an average debt of about $25,600.”

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