College Board/National Journal Poll

Egalitarian College Hopes, to a Degree

62 percent believe money and influence give an edge to attending a top school, though more Asians and Hispanics believe they have a fair shot at one.

USC students on their way to attend a memorial service on April 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California, for the two Chinese graduate students who were shot to death near campus last week. US authorities have offered $200,000 in reward money to find whoever killed the two students, after more funds were pledged on April 17. Los Angeles has a large Chinese and Chinese-American population, including many overseas students and certain areas of the city are known for frequent gun violence. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Quinton
See more stories about...
Sophie Quinton
Nov. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Amer­ic­ans see a class di­vide in high­er edu­ca­tion but don’t ne­ces­sar­ily be­lieve that need-based aid is the way to ad­dress it, ac­cord­ing to the latest Col­lege Board/Na­tion­al Journ­al Next Amer­ica poll.

Sixty-two per­cent of all re­spond­ents said they be­lieve that stu­dents from wealthy and in­flu­en­tial fam­il­ies have a bet­ter chance of get­ting in­to Amer­ica’s best col­leges. Yet 59 per­cent also ap­prove of the move some states and in­sti­tu­tions have made to provide less need-based fin­an­cial aid and more mer­it-based fin­an­cial aid. (Stephanie Stamm)

Asi­an and His­pan­ic re­spond­ents took a slightly more egal­it­ari­an view of high­er edu­ca­tion than their white and black coun­ter­parts: 39 per­cent of Asi­ans and 37 per­cent of His­pan­ics said all stu­dents have an equal chance of get­ting in­to top col­leges, based on their aca­dem­ic qual­i­fic­a­tions. Black re­spond­ents were most likely to be­lieve that ad­mis­sion was class-based, with 68 per­cent say­ing that wealthy stu­dents have an ad­mis­sions ad­vant­age.

But des­pite their sense that wealth mat­ters, 64 per­cent of black re­spond­ents ap­prove of shift­ing re­sources to­ward mer­it-based aid. His­pan­ic re­spond­ents were most strongly op­posed to a shift to­ward mer­it-based aid, with 39 per­cent op­pos­ing such a change.

A lot of mer­it schol­ar­ships are es­sen­tially lures: dis­counts for wealthy, high-achiev­ing stu­dents that col­leges need to re­cruit to boost their bot­tom lines and their U.S. News and World Re­port rank­ings, Wash­ing­ton Monthly re­por­ted last month. Nearly a fifth of stu­dents re­ceiv­ing mer­it schol­ar­ships have less than a B av­er­age, the magazine re­por­ted; from 1995 to 2007, the num­ber of full-time, first-time en­rollees re­ceiv­ing mer­it aid at private col­leges jumped from 24 to 44 per­cent.

The Col­lege Board/Na­tion­al Journ­al Next Amer­ica Poll, con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al, sur­veyed 1,272 adults ages 18 and older from Oct. 14-24, in Eng­lish and Span­ish, through land­lines and cell phones. It in­cludes over­samples of 245 Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans, 229 His­pan­ics, and 107 Asi­an-Amer­ic­ans; the poll has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.9 per­cent­age points for the over­all sample, with lar­ger er­ror mar­gins for the sub­groups. The poll is one com­pon­ent of Na­tion­al Journ­al’s Next Amer­ica pro­ject, which ex­am­ines how chan­ging demo­graphy is chan­ging the na­tion­al agenda.

First in a five-part series Click here to down­load the topline res­ults from the poll and ac­cess in your down­load folder.

What We're Following See More »
Peña Nieto, Trump Trade Subtle Jabs in Statements
7 hours ago

Following their meeting, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, briefly addressed the media, with Peña Nieto subtly rebuking Trump's rhetoric. While he spoke respectfully about Trump, Peña Nieto did not back down, saying that free trade has proved effective and that illegal immigration into America from the south has decreased over the last ten years while the flow of people and drugs into Mexico has increased. Additionally, he stressed that Mexicans in America are "honest" and "deserve respect." Trump responded, calling some Mexicans "tremendous people" while saying others are "beyond reproach." Trump laid out five important issues, including the end of illegal immigration and the ability for either country to build a wall or border. However, Trump said he did not discuss who would pay for the wall.

SCOTUS Won’t Restore NC Voter ID Law
7 hours ago

A divided Supreme Court "refused Wednesday to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification requirement and keep just 10 days of early in-person voting. The court rejected a request by Gov. Pat McCrory and other state officials to delay a lower court ruling that found the state law was tainted by racial discrimination."

Court: 2nd Amendment Doesn’t Protect Pot Users’ Gun Rights
8 hours ago
Woman Self-Immolates in Congressman’s Office
10 hours ago

"Police say a woman walked into U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' office on Chicago's West Side, drank out of a bottle of hand sanitizer, poured the sanitizer over herself and set herself on fire with a lighter." The Democrat wasn't in the office at the time.

How Many Offices Does Trump Have in Battleground States?
13 hours ago

Eighty-eight, according to PBS. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has 291 offices in those same 15 states.