Which of these statements is closest to your own view of higher education?                                                        

Fall 1972


Why this survey was relevant

With the end of the 60’s there was a real movement from the younger generation for equal rights.  Women especially were starting to break out from being the housewife and branching off into the workforce.  In 1972  the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights  began to enforce Title IX of the education amendments which stated “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”  This was a huge step forward for women and America as a whole.  But did this enforcement have a real effect on the populace?


Survey Results

I have to go to college to get a good level of education: 43%

I have to go to college to get a good job and marriage: 33%

I would like to have stayed in school but I have to earn a living: 10%

I have to go because my parents say I need to: 8%

Other: 11%


Survey Beta Conclusion

We can see from the results here that probably not a lot has changed in the 50 years following this survey, the same reasons persist. Although, the word marriage might feature less in people’s replies as that institution’s power has lessened in the intervening time.

In the ’70s going to college was still very much seen as a lucky privilege rather than a normal path for everyone. This period marked the beginning of the boom that, today, see’s a much greater amount of college participation over the country.

There were some stark differences between going to college in the ’70s compared with today. Campus’s were largely male-dominated, much in line with the workplaces of the day. The average cost of a 4-year public college course in 1972 was a mere $500 per year. Even adjusted for inflation this figure comes out at $2,620. The figure today is close to $10,000 a year. Accommodation costs have also rocketed sky-high, especially for those attending college somewhere like California.

It’s interesting to think of the thoughts of parents would still have a hold over the 8% of the public who were asked this question in 1972. Is there a stronger streak of independence in the youth of today and would this number shrink if the poll were to be taken in 2021.


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