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Differing Views on Free College, State Disinvestment

October 6, 2016

Public Agenda, a nonpartisan group, on Thursday released results of two recent national surveys of American adults on higher education. Respondents generally favor using taxpayer money to make public colleges free for students from low- and middle-income families, with roughly two-thirds calling it a good idea. However, the survey found that Democrats are much more likely to like free college proposals (86 percent) than Republicans (34 percent). Respondents were also divided by age, with those under 49 liking the free-college idea (73 percent) more than those who are at least 50 (58 percent).

The group also found a partisan divide on a question about cuts in state government funding of public colleges. Democrats were more likely to call disinvestment a problem (79 percent) than were Republicans (57 percent).

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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