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There exists a growing trend among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents to view higher education as a net negative on American society, according to Pew Research Center data.

In its most recent survey, the Center found that the number of Americans in general who believe colleges and universities have a negative impact on society has risen 12 points to 38 percent — and nearly the entire increase was driven by those who lean to the right.

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans hold negative views of higher education today, compared to 37 percent in 2012.

Among Democrats and those who lean left, views on higher education “have remained largely stable and overwhelmingly positive,” the Center reported, with 67 percent saying higher ed has a positive effect.

Similarly, Gallup found that the percentage of Republicans who had a great deal of confidence in America’s higher education institutions fell from 56 percent in 2015 to 39 percent in 2018.

And while most Americans agree that there are problems with colleges and universities, their reasons for believing this differ between political affiliations.

Democrats tend to point to rising tuition costs and the quality of education as reasons to believe higher education is headed in the wrong direction; Republicans, on the other hand, also point to “professors bringing their political and social views into the classroom”, “too much concern about protecting students from views they might find offensive”, and “students not getting the skills they need to succeed in the workplace” as reasons higher ed is not getting it right.

Regardless, most Americans still believe getting a college degree is important in today’s world: “31% of adults say a college education is essential, and an additional 60% say it is important but not essential.”

Read the full report.