Although more than 96 percent of Michigan residents ages 18 and older surveyed said attending college is “somewhat important” or “very important” for a young person to be successful in their career, more than 67 percent said they “somewhat disagree” or “strongly disagree” that college education is reasonably affordable.
More than 1,000 Michigan residents recently answered questions about political, educational and social aspects for a survey called “Looking at the College-Going Culture of Michigan Adults. The Michigan College Access Network worked with the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University to conduct it.
The survey was the second time questions were asked about the “college-going culture,” which defines college as earning a degree or certificate from an educational institution such as a technical school, community college or university.
Jamie Jacobs, director of professional development for the Michigan College Access Network, said they want to focus their efforts on the barriers potentially getting in the way of students attending college.
“We’re extremely pleased Michigan adults understand the importance (of going to college),” she said.
Based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community survey in 2011, about 36.8 percent of Michigan’s 5.2 million “working-age” adults (ages 25-64) have at least a two-year degree; the nation’s average is 38.3 percent.
More than 95 percent of survey participants in Michigan’s West Central region, which includes Ottawa County, responded that attending college is “very important” or “somewhat important.” And about two-thirds said they “somewhat disagree” and “strongly disagree” that college education is affordable for people in Michigan.
Raising awareness about financial opportunities, specifically the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), has been a focus of Tri-Cities College Access Network this year, said Kim McLaughlin, the program’s director.
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