Written by Joanna Hughes

A new poll from Universities UK set out to determine how people feel about university degrees. Its findings? Not only do Millennials feel more favorably about the impact of higher education than older generations, but those from ethnic minorities were especially positive. Here’s a closer look at the research, as recently reported by The Guardian.

Young = Positive

The poll reveals that 55 percent of 18-24 year-olds felt like universities had a positive impact on them personally. This compares to 44 percent of 25-34 year-olds and 35 percent of people over the age of 65. It's also worth nothing respondents in the younger groups were more likely to have degrees.

In terms of attitudes among different ethnic groups, meanwhile, black and minority ethnic adults had the most positive attitudes, with 60 percent and 68 percent respectively saying universities have a positive impact on their families and on the UK as a whole, compared to 43 percent and 57 percent respectively for white adults.

The largest consideration for two-thirds of those surveyed was jobs. While the majority believe universities improved their career prospects, nearly half said the high cost of universities detracted from the potential benefits.

An Emerging Question

All in all, less than half of those surveyed had a positive outlook about universities, but just nine percent had a negative opinion. That said, most people admitted to not knowing what universities actually do, with many expressing a desire to learn more about research breakthroughs.

Still, insiders say the study offers more to celebrate than not. Universities UK president Janet Beer said, “Since 2010 universities have become a combination of piggy bank and punchbag for politicians. [The results] reveal that the public has not lost faith in Britain’s universities. In fact, the public view universities as a vital force not just for individual advancement, but for cultural enrichment and national prosperity.”


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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