For decades, colleges and universities enjoyed almost unquestioned public support as some of America’s most important institutions. Like most institutions, they’ve been knocked off that pedestal in recent years, amid growing questions not about whether higher education remains important but whether it’s available, affordable and valuable enough.

This week’s episode of The Key is the first in a three-part series on the concept of “value” in higher education, made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The topic has gotten increasing attention as college prices and student debt continue to rise and policy makers develop data showing the return on investment for specific academic programs.

Today’s episode looks at several recent surveys of public attitudes about higher education. Participants include Sophie Nguyen, senior policy analyst with New America’s Education Program, which publishes Varying Degrees and numerous other surveys about higher education; David Schleifer, vice president and director of research at Public Agenda, a national research organization; and Natasha Quadlin, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-author of Who Should Pay? Higher Education, Responsibility, and the Public, published this year by the Russell Sage Foundation.  

Hosted by Inside Higher Ed Editor Doug Lederman.

This episode was made possible by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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