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.