- Posted By: Lisa M. Rawleigh
- Written by: Pew Research Center
Here are some of the findings:
College completion - In 2010, more than 60 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds had finished at least some college education (at a two-year or four-year institution), an increase from about 25 percent in the early 1960s. In 2010, 32 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds completed at least a bachelor’s degree (up from 13 percent in 1962) and an additional 9 percent had an associate degree as their highest degree completed. More young women (36 percent) than men (28 percent) complete at least a bachelor’s degree, and young whites (39 percent) continue to be more likely than young blacks (19 percent) or Hispanics (13 percent) to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
The value of college education – Opinion on this matter is consistent across racial and ethnic groups as well. Majorities of whites, blacks and Hispanics say the higher education system is doing only a fair or poor job in terms of providing value for the money spent by students and their families.
Whites (53 percent) are more satisfied with their education than are blacks (42 percent) or Hispanics (42 percent). Hispanic women are among the least satisfied (15 percent are very dissatisfied). But overall, men and women are equally satisfied with their education.
Reasons for not going to college - The young people who are not on the college track are disproportionately Hispanic. Among Hispanics ages 18-34, roughly two-thirds (65 percent) do not have a college degree and are not currently in school. This compares with 47 percent of blacks and 45 percent of whites in the same age group. Those not on the college track are also more likely to come from low-income households.
Getting ahead – Women place more importance than men on having a good work ethic and knowing how to get along with people. However, men and women do not differ over the importance of having a college degree. Whites and blacks place more importance than Hispanics on having a good work ethic, knowing how to get along with people and work skills learned on the job. Blacks stand out in terms of the value they place on higher education. More than half (55 percent) say having a college degree is extremely important in helping a young person succeed in the world today. This compares with 41 percent of whites and 39 percent of Hispanics.
Source: Pew Research Center, “Is College Worth it?” May 16, 2011,