Today’s post continues the look at higher education polls, offering a view of attitudes over time. The chapter below is excerpted from “The Commitment Revisited: Financial Aid and Tuition Policy in North Carolina,” a report on Public and Private Colleges and Universities and Community Colleges.
Public Opinion on the Cost of College and Financial Aid:
Lessons from the Surveys
Pollsters often survey the public to see what they think about the cost of college and financial aid. In analyzing multiple polls from previous years, themes emerge and provide guidance for policymakers making decisions about the availability and adequacy of student financial aid.
Studies by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education: Education Is Essential
Since 1993, John Immerwahr, a professor at Villanova University, has partnered with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education of San Jose, California (now the Higher Education Policy Institute) and the Public Agenda Foundation of New York to produce a series of surveys of public opinion on higher education issues. The 1993 poll found that 79 percent of Americans believe that high school graduates should go to college “because in the long run they will have better job prospects.” The poll also found that 89 percent of Americans “feel that society should not allow lack of money to prevent a qualified and motivated student from getting a college education.”
The next installment of Immerwahr’s polls came in 1998. The survey of 700 Americans found that “Americans believe that higher education is more important than it has ever been, both as a key to a middle-class lifestyle and as a resource for the local economy…[and] are convinced that no qualified or motivated student should be denied an opportunity to go to a college or university merely because of the price.” The poll also found that 77 percent of Americans believe that “students appreciate the value of a college education only when they have some personal responsibility for paying for what it costs.”
The 2000 poll found that 87 percent of Americans believe that a college education has become as important as a high school diploma used to be. The pollsters also learned that the value placed on a college education is highest among those who have the lowest rates of college participation. African American and Hispanic parents were more likely than white parents to identify a college education as the single most important factor for a young person “to succeed in the world today.”
The next poll in the series was conducted in October 2003 and found tremendous consistency in public attitudes with the earlier studies. Yet, despite the overall long-term stability in public opinion, the researchers found that the views of African Americans, Hispanics, and parents of high school students are trending toward what the pollsters labeled an “unpleasant scenario.” Among those three demographic subgroups, higher education increasingly was seen as simultaneously more essential, but less accessible.
In 2007, Immerwahr polled 1,001 Americans, and the polling results were supplemented with focus-groups held around the country and with interviews of 25 corporate, media, philanthropic, and legislative leaders. Again, there was remarkable consistency with earlier findings, except that the researchers found widespread concern about the rising price of a college education. This concern was most acute among minority parents. The poll found that 59 percent of Americans said that higher education costs are going up as fast as or even faster than health care costs and that 78 percent of respondents agreed that students have to borrow too much money to pay for their college education.
Focus group respondents told researchers, “Many poor people cannot take advantage of the financial aid that is available because they lack the information, mentorship, or support necessary to go to college.” Participants in the groups also pointed out that, “Academically qualified poor people are sometimes hampered by demanding external problems, such as the need to work to support their families, concerns about childcare, and lack of self-confidence.”
Another poll in the series was conducted in December 2008. The researchers noted a marked increase in the number of Americans who see obtaining a college degree as “the only way to succeed in America,” with 55 percent of respondents holding that view. The first time this question was asked in the poll series was 2000, when only 31 percent of Americans saw it that way. The researchers called this 24 percentage point increase a “remarkable change in a fairly short period.”
The analysis also noted an all time high of 67 percent in the number of people saying “that many qualified people did not have the opportunity to attend college.” Coupling the results of these two questions, the researchers concluded, “American public attitudes seem to be on a virtual collision course. At a moment when college is more frequently perceived as absolutely essential, more Americans think that a college education is out of reach for many.” Additionally, the researchers saw a significant increase in the number of Americans who were “worried that financial help was not easily available for students,” up ten points since 2007 to 39 percent.
The most recent poll in the series was conducted in December 2009. The poll shows that “[s]ix out of ten Americans now say that colleges today operate more like a business, focused more on the bottom line than on the educational experience of students. Further, the number of people who feel this way has increased by five percentage points in the last year alone and is up by eight percentage points since 2007.” The researchers conclude that Americans are now more skeptical that institutions are doing all they can to keep higher education affordable. The researchers note that more people continue to think higher education is absolutely necessary for success (55 percent in 2009 versus 31 percent in 2000), and more people continue to think that many qualified people do not have access to higher education (69 percent in 2009 versus 47 percent in 2000).
Studies by the American Council on Education: Cost Is a Barrier for Many
A 1995 report by the American Council on Education (ACE) reviewed the findings of 30 different public opinion polls. The ACE report found “the main concern of the public is the high cost of higher education and the financial barrier to college for many.” The report also found that 73 percent of Americans support financial aid for members of minority groups.
In 1998, ACE conducted a nine-month study with 16 focus groups in eight cities and a national telephone survey of 2,000 Americans. The study examined knowledge and attitudes about college costs and the financing of a college education. It came to six conclusions: (1) the public thinks that higher education is vitally important and a good value for the money; (2) people worry about the price of attending college and think the price can be brought down without affecting academic quality; (3) the public has a distorted view of what it costs to attend college; (4) people have no idea why college costs increase; (5) the public does not know how much financial aid is available to help pay college bills, where it comes from, and how to get it; and (6) the public thinks that college leaders are indifferent to their concerns about the price of attending college. 
Study by the Polling Firm of Lake Snell Perry and Associates: Low College Continuation Rates Are a Serious Problem
A study entitled “Leaks in the Post-Secondary Pipeline: A Survey of Americans,” was conducted for Jobs For the Future by a nationally-recognized polling and research firm, Lake Research Partners. The national survey of 1,010 Americans was conducted in September and October 2003. While asking about the public’s knowledge of high school and college completion trends, Lake’s firm found that a majority of Americans were aware of the nation’s low college continuation and completion rates. The poll found that 90 percent of Americans consider it a “serious problem” that a low percentage of students who stay in high school eventually graduate from college.
The firm also found that “Americans believe cost is the primary impediment for students – especially lower-income students – in the pursuit of a college degree.” The cost of college was seen as a “serious” problem by 84 percent of respondents. Similarly, about two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents considered lack of equal access to college by low income students a “major problem.” Additionally, the firm found that 72 percent of Americans believe that increasing financial aid for needy students would “help a lot” in addressing the low college continuation and completion rates.
Studies by the Gallup Organization on Behalf of Sallie Mae: Families Need To Save More for College and Borrowing Is Important
Student loan provider SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) partnered with the Gallup polling organization in 2008 to begin an annual survey of college students and parents.
The study’s major purpose was to investigate how students and their families paid for college in 2007-08. The researchers found that parental income and savings was the largest single source of funding for college, with the average student covering 32 percent of the full cost of attendance in this manner. Borrowing by students was the second largest source of funding at 23 percent, and borrowing by parents was third at 16 percent, producing a combined total of 39 percent on average of college costs being paid for with borrowed funds. Other sources of funding included grants and scholarships at 15 percent, student income and savings at 10 percent, and support from friends at 3 percent. The report noted that middle-income families borrowed more on average than lower-income families, and said, “This may suggest that middle-income families were borrowing more to reach for a higher-cost post-secondary institution.”
Additionally, the 2008 Gallup survey found that 94 percent of students and 96 percent of parents agreed that one of the reasons they were attending college was to make an investment in the student’s future. One parent from Wisconsin who was interviewed for the study said, “I think it’s almost required nowadays in order to have a good career, and I wanted [my daughter] to have that.” When asked whether borrowing to pay for college was preferable to not going at all, 77 percent of parents and 87 percent of students agreed.
Gallup’s 2009 survey for Sallie Mae found that only 29 percent of American families were on track to save enough money to pay for college. Families save on average 3.6 percent of their annual income, when realistically they need to save 5.7 percent of their income, the Gallup survey found.
Additionally, the 2009 study identified tuition increases as the top concern of parents with 58 percent expressing worry. Among those who expressed worry, nearly 60 percent said they were “extremely worried.” The survey also showed the significance of student borrowing. Among students who took out loans to pay for college, 33 percent reported that without the loans they would have delayed school or not attended. For students from families earning less than $35,000 per year, loans were even more crucial with 44 percent responding that they wouldn’t be in school without the loans.
The Great Recession hit in 2007 and 2008, and the students making decisions about higher education in 2009-10 were the first to take the decline in the economy into consideration as they made decisions about whether and where to go to college. This is reflected in the 2010 Gallup poll. The survey found families using the same types of funding, but they used more funding from all sources to pay for the rising cost of college. “The surveyed families report that their costs of attendance have increased 17 percent over last year and 28 percent above two years ago.” Almost half of the respondents were extremely worried that tuition would continue to rise. Ninety-nine (99) percent of the families said they were trying to find ways to make college more affordable, for example by reducing personal spending.
In the 2011 poll, now conducted by Ipsos, families reported paying nine percent less for college than they had in the previous year. The substantial increase in Pell Grants is documented with respondents reporting that grants and scholarships covered 33 percent of costs compared to 23 percent the year before. For the first time since the start of the survey, more families filled out the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid). With the Great Recession in full swing and unemployment rates figuring prominently in newspaper headlines, 90 percent of the students strongly agreed that college is an investment in the future.
As the economy began to recover in fits and starts, the 2012 Ipsos poll found students paying a greater percentage of the cost of college and parents cutting back. In 2011-12, respondents reported that grants and scholarships covered 29 percent of the cost of college, parent income and savings for 28 percent, student borrowing for 18 percent, student income and savings for 12 percent, parent borrowing for nine percent, and relatives and friends for four percent. “Drawing from savings, income, and loans, students paid 30 percent of the total cost of attendance last academic year, up from 24 percent four years earlier, while parents covered 37 percent, down from 45 percent in the same time period,” said Sallie Mae’s press release.
Other important findings from the 2012 Ipsos poll include:
- 69 percent of families are eliminating college choices because of cost, the highest percentage since the survey began.
- Cost saving measures for families include reducing personal spending by students (66 percent), having a roommate (55 percent), living at home (51 percent), and reducing personal spending by parents (50 percent).
- Rising tuition cost is leading more students to enroll at community colleges (29 percent as compared to 23 percent two years ago).
- Students report that they drive the decision of where to go to college, but parents drive the decision of how to pay for college.
- The number of students who have credit cards continues to drop. 35 percent of the students surveyed report having a credit card, down from 42 percent in 2010. The average balance is $775.
In the 2013 survey, Sallie Mae/Ipsos found similar results. Financial aid, like grants and scholarships, covers a larger portion of the tuition bill, paying for 30 percent of costs in 2012-13. The other significant sources that Americans use to cover costs include parent income and savings (covering 27 percent of costs), student borrowing (18 percent), and student income and savings (11 percent). The survey also found that support for a college education remains high, with 85 percent responding that college is an investment in the student’s future.
In the most recent 2014 survey, grants and scholarships covered 31 percent of the costs of college; parent income and savings contributed 30 percent; student borrowing (15 percent); student income and savings (12 percent). (Click on figure to enlarge)
Study by the National Center for Education Statistics: Gaps in the Information Parents Receive About Planning and Paying for College
In 2008, the federal government’s National Center for Education Statistics published the results of a survey of 6,800 parents of students in grades 6-12. The analysis, entitled “Parent Expectations and Planning for College,” examined the expectations parents had about educational attainment for their children and the amount and type of planning done by parents.
The study found that 91 percent of the parents expected their children to continue their education beyond high school, with 65 percent expecting their children to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher. The researchers found no significant gaps by race, with 64 percent of African American parents, 64 percent of whites, and 64 percent of Hispanics expecting their children to get a bachelor’s degree. However, parents of Asian students had higher expectations, with 80 percent expecting their children to attain a college degree. The study did note gaps in parental expectations by income, with 83 percent of families with annual incomes of more than $75,000 expecting their children to get a bachelor’s degree, compared to 51 percent of parents making $25,000 or less. A gap also was evident by parental educational level, with 88 percent of parents who had bachelor’s degrees expecting the same of their kids, but only 44 percent of parents who had not completed high school expecting their children to earn a college degree.
Parents also were asked to assess how well their child’s school was doing at providing information to their family about planning for post-secondary education. The responses were split, with 40 percent reporting their child’s school provided “no information” or that the school “did not do very well,” 32 percent saying the school did “very well,” and 28 percent saying the schools did “just ok.”
Another major topic of the study was parental perceptions of whether they had enough information about paying for post-secondary education to plan their family’s finances adequately. Overall, 66 percent of parents said they had enough information to begin planning to pay for their child’s college education. However, researchers noted a racial gap in the responses to this question, with 72 percent of whites saying they had enough information, and 62 percent of Asians agreeing. But, only 58 percent of Hispanic parents and 47 percent of African American parents said they had enough information. Income levels also made a difference as 81 percent of parents earning more than $75,000 said they had enough information, while only 49 percent of parents earning $25,000 or less agreed. Finally, among parents with a bachelor’s degree, 81 percent said they had enough information to plan their family finances, while only 31 percent of parents with less than a high school education agreed.
Findings from Other Recent Polls
In its 2011 survey, the Pew Research Center asked the public and college presidents to respond to questions centered around one inquiry: Is college worth it?  The results of the survey provide mixed messages about the value and purpose of higher education. Fifty-seven percent of Americans responded that the U.S. higher education system does not provide students a good value for money spent, and 75 percent responded that college is too expensive for most people to afford. By contrast, 86 percent of college graduates surveyed said that college was a good investment for them. College continues to be a goal for most, with 94 percent of parents responding that they expect their child to attend.
The perceived purpose of a college education also varies. While 47 percent of the public respondents stated that the main purpose is to teach work skills and knowledge, 39 percent said a college education helps a student grow personally and intellectually. The survey of college presidents produced a more even split, with about half stating the purpose is intellectual growth and the other half answering that gaining job skills is the reason for a college education.
In a national poll by The College Board in December 2011 and January 2012, more than half of the students surveyed indicated they had ruled out colleges because of the sticker price, without considering how financial aid might offset the cost. Fifty-eight percent of students from low-income families and 62 percent of students from middle-income families had ruled out colleges because of the price alone. Only 35 percent of the students reported that they had used the Net Tuition Price Calculators, which the federal government requires higher education institutions to post on their websites.
In national polling in June 2012 conducted by The Carnegie Corporation, 76 percent of respondents said access to higher education should be a right, and 46 percent of them believe this strongly. Two-thirds of respondents said that the cost of college is the greatest barrier to access to higher education.
A survey by TIME and the Carnegie Corporation in October 2012 found that 89 percent of the public and 96 percent of senior administrators at colleges and universities agree that higher education is in crisis. Eighty percent of the public think college is not worth the price, and 73 percent support caps on tuition by the federal government. Fifty-five percent of the public think the average debt loan (noted in the poll as $25,250) is too high. Fifty-eight percent of the public and 69 percent of the college leaders believe that “not everyone should be encouraged to go to college.”
In a February 2013 poll conducted by Elon University of North Carolina residents, 54 percent of respondents said the state government should spend more money on public universities. Thirty-two percent thought the funding level should be maintained, and nine percent said the state should spend less money on public higher education.
A Pew Research Center survey and analysis, conducted in 2013, found that millennial college graduates, aged 25 to 32 and employed full-time, earn about $17,500 more per year than young adults working with only a high school diploma. Among Millennials surveyed, 72 percent with a bachelor’s degree said that college had paid off, and 17 percent said college would pay off in the future. In terms of job satisfaction, 53 percent of college-educated Millennials said they are “very satisfied” at work, while 37 percent of Millennials with a high school diploma or less did so.
When asked about the future, 63 percent of Millennials with a college degree responded they were confident they have enough training and education to get ahead in their current job, compared to 41 percent of high school graduates. Nine in ten adults (91 percent) with a bachelor’s degree or more education responded that their undergraduate education had paid off or will pay off in the future.
Guidance from the Polls
We can learn multiple lessons about public opinion from past and current polls on higher education, as well as how those attitudes change over time. First, Americans believe college is more important than ever “because in the long run they will have better job prospects.” Second, the cost of college is viewed as a serious problem with public attitudes on a collision course. But at a time when college is perceived as absolutely essential, more Americans think that a college education is less accessible and out of reach financially. Third, African American and Hispanic parents are more likely than white parents to say a college education is essential to succeed in the world today, but they also see a college education as less accessible. Fourth, many parents report that their families are not receiving adequate information about planning and paying for college. Fifth, college continues to be a goal for most Americans, and the cost of college is perceived as the greatest barrier.
 John Immerwahr, “The Closing Gateway: Californians Consider Their Higher Education System,” California Higher Education Policy Center, San Jose, CA, September 1993, p. 19. A national public opinion survey was conducted by the organization to provide comparative figures for a California-specific survey. The organization later changed its focus and its name to The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. It is now the Higher Education Policy Institute.
 John Immerwahr, “The Price of Admission: The Growing Importance of Higher Education,” The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, San Jose, CA, Spring 1998, 18 pages.
 John Immerwahr with Tony Foleno, “Great Expectations: How the Public and Parents–White, African American, and Hispanic–View Higher Education,” The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, San Jose, CA, May 2000. Online at: http://www.highereducation.org/reports/expectations/expectations.shtml, last accessed on 9/18/13.
 John Immerwahr, “Public Attitudes on Higher Education: A Trend Analysis, 1993 to 2003,” The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, San Jose, CA, February 2004, 21 pages.
 John Immerwahr and Jean Johnson, “Squeeze Play: How Parents and the Public Look at Higher Education Today,” The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, San Jose, CA, May 31, 2007, 55 pages.
 John Immerwahr and Jean Johnson, “Squeeze Play: The Public’s Views on College Costs Today,” The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, San Jose, CA, February 4, 2009, 11 pages.
 John Immerwahr and Jean Johnson with Amber Ott and Jonathan Rochkind, “Squeeze Play: Continued Anxiety on Cost, Harsher Judgments on How Colleges Are Run,” The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, San Jose, CA, February 2010, 17 pages. This survey was conducted from December 9-13, 2009. A national random sample of 1,031 adults was included in these telephone interviews. The response rate was 14.3 percent, and the margin of error for total respondents was plus or minus 3.05 percentage points.
 Ibid., p. 2.
 Ibid., p. 7.
 James Harvey and John Immerwahr, “Goodwill and Growing Worry: Public Perceptions of American Higher Education,” American Council on Education, Washington, DC, 1995, 38 pages.
 Stanley O. Ikenberry and Terry W. Hartle, “Too Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing: What the Public Thinks and Knows about Paying for College,” American Council on Education, Washington, DC, 1998, 64 pages.
 Lake Snell Perry and Associates, “Leaks in the Postsecondary Pipeline: A Survey of Americans,” Washington, DC, October 2003, 12 pages.
 Gallup, Inc., “How America Pays for College: Sallie Mae’s National Study of College Students and Parents,” SLM Corporation, Reston, VA, August 2008, 51 pages.
 Gallup, Inc., “How America Pays for College: Sallie Mae’s National Study of College Students and Parents 2009,” SLM Corporation, Reston, VA, August 2009, 57 pages.
 Gallup, Inc., “How America Pays for College: Sallie Mae’s Study of College Students and Parents 2010,” SLM Corporation, Reston, VA, August 2010, 64 pages. The survey was conducted from March 24-May 3, 2010. A national sample of 1,624 students and parents was included, with 95 percent confidence that the margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
 Ibid., p. 9.
 “How America Pays for College: Sallie Mae’s Study of College Students and Parents 2011,” SLM Corporation, Reston, VA, August 2011, 50 pages. The survey was conducted from May 3-June 13, 2011. The national sample included 813 undergraduate students and 798 parents of undergraduate students, a total of 1,611 respondents. With 95 percent confidence, the margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
 “How America Pays for College: Sallie Mae’s Study of College Students and Parents 2012,” SLM Corporation, Reston, VA, July 2012, 52 pages. The survey was conducted by Ipsos from April 2-May 13, 2012. The national sample included 801 undergraduate students and 800 parents, a total of 1,601 respondents. With 95 percent confidence, the margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
 Sallie Mae, Press Release, “While Strongly Valuing College, Families Continue to Cut Costs: Students Assume Greater Share of College Costs, While Parents Trim,” Newark, DE, July 16, 2012. Online at: https://www1. salliemae.com/about/news_info/newsreleases/Sallie+Mae+Releases+2012+How+America+Pays+Study.htm, last accessed 9/19/13.
 “How America Pays for College 2013,” Sallie Mae’s Study of College Students and Parents, Ipsos Public Affairs, Paris, France, 2013, 59 pages. The survey was conducted from April 10, 2013 to May 9, 2013. The national sample included 1,602 individuals: 802 parents of undergraduate students and 800 undergraduate students. With 95 percent confidence, the margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
 “How America Pays for College 2014,” Sallie Mae’s Study of College Students and Parents, Ipsos Public Affairs. The telephone survey was conducted from April 4, 2014 to May 15, 2014. The national sample included 1,601 individuals: 801 parents of undergraduate students and 800 undergraduate students. With 95 percent confidence, the margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
 Laura Lipmann, Lina Guzman, Julie Dombrowski Keith, Akemi Kinukawa, Rebeca Shwalb, and Peter Tice, “Parent Expectations and Planning for College: Statistical Analysis Report (NCES 2008-079),” National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC, April 2008, 28 pages. The report was based on a sample of survey data collected in the federal government’s 2003 Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey, a component of the National Household Education Surveys Program.
 Paul Taylor, et al., “Is College Worth It? College Presidents, Public Assess Value, Quality and Mission of Higher Education,” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC, May 16, 2011. Online at: http://www.pewsocialtrends. org/files/2011/05/higher-ed-report.pdf, last accessed 9/19/13. The survey of the general public included 2,142 interviews from March 15-29, 2011. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points for the total sample, and 4.5 percentage points for adults 18-34 with a 95 percent confidence level. The survey of college presidents included 1,055 interviews from March 15-April 24, 2011. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points for the total sample, 4.8 percentage points for presidents of four-year public universities, 3.8 percentage points for presidents of four-year private universities, 4.6 percentage points for presidents of two-year colleges, and 11.3 percentage points for presidents of private for-profit colleges and universities with a 95 percent confidence level.
 Ibid., p. 5.
 Ibid., p. 31.
 Ibid., p. 46.
 Ibid., p. 14.
 Ibid., p. 15.
 studentPOLL, by the College Board and Art & Science Group, Vol. 9, Issue 1, September 14, 2012. Online at: http://www.artsci.com/studentpoll/v9n1/index.html, last accessed 9/19/13. This poll included a “random national sample of high school seniors who registered for the SAT and who completed an optional web-based survey in early December 2011 or late January 2012. Some 1461 students completed the online survey.… The margin of sampling error for this student population is plus or minus 2.56 percent. The respondents are weighted to resemble the population of students’ based upon gender, race, and the region of the United States where they reside.”
 The Carnegie Corporation of New York, NY, conducted a national online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults from June 4-6, 2012.
 GfK Custom Research North America conducted a web-based poll for TIME and the Carnegie Corporation of New York from October 1-8, 2012. They surveyed a national sample of 1,000 U.S. adults and 540 senior administrators at public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities.
 Josh Sanburn, “Higher-Education Poll,” TIME U.S., October 18, 2012. Online at: http://nation.time.com/ 2012/10/18/higher-education-poll/, last accessed 9/19/13.
 Elon University Poll, “What North Carolina thinks about Higher Education Funding,” February 24-28, 2013. Online at: http://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/elonpoll/030713_ElonPoll_highered.pdf, last accessed 9/4/13. The live phone poll of 891 North Carolinians was conducted between Feb. 24 -28, 2013, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.28 percentage points.
 Paul Taylor, et al., “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC, February 11, 2014. Online at: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/, last accessed 2/14/14. The survey of the general public included landline and cell phone interviews with 2,002 adults from October 7-27, 2013. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points for the total sample.