Confidence in higher education is dropping in the U.S., a poll conducted by American analytics and advisory company Gallup reported on Tuesday.

The company gathered information from June 1-22 and highlighted three findings:

  • Of those surveyed, 36% of Americans still had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education.
  • High confidence decreased from 57% to 48% between 2015-2018, down to 17% this year.
  • All major subgroups had a decline in confidence, with Republicans dropping the most.

Megan Brenan, a research consultant for Gallup, wrote, “Democrats are now ‘the only key subgroup with majority-level confidence in higher education,’” according to Axios.

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Study details

Forbes reported “40% said they had ‘some’ and 22% expressed ‘very little’ confidence.”

Confidence dropped by about 10 percentage points among those with an undergraduate degree, 17 points for those with a postgraduate degree and 25 points for adults without a college degree, when compared to 2015, Forbes said.

Axios said this year, 19% of Republicans surveyed were still confident in higher education, along with 32% of independent voters and 59% of Democrats.

Democrats reported financial concerns regarding higher education in previous Gallup polling, while the current study showed Republicans worried about politics within education, per Axios.

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Confidence in institutions

Gallup said this drop in confidence comes as no surprise, with faith in American institutions like the military, Congress and the Supreme Court decreasing to historic lows, as reported in a separate Gallup poll.

“Although diminished, higher education ranks fourth in confidence among the 17 institutions measured, with small business, the military and the police in the top three spots. This was also the case in 2018, the last time higher education was included in the list of institutions,” Gallup said.

The Deseret News previously reported on free speech within college campuses and said, “Amid a growing number of cases involving so-called ‘cancel culture,’ some are concerned that mutual respect among students, teachers and administrators is giving way to pressures to silence voices with whom one might not agree.”

The poll showed that the institutions Americans were least confident in included big businesses, television news and the criminal justice system.