Higher Education Research Summer 2015

Polling Data on College Completion and Tuition in North Carolina: Part 2

The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research conducted an online statewide poll to survey respondents on the highest credential completed, student loan amounts, and reasons North Carolinians do not complete their degree.1

To provide a unique look at state-level responses, the Center’s survey was limited to North Carolinians. Some of the results provide additional insight into the state-specific story of how individuals are pursuing higher education and what types of barriers they are facing.

Posts this week highlight these poll results and also include public opinion on higher education issues from national surveys. See the first post in the series here.

What part of North Carolina do you live in? (Click on figure to enlarge)


  • The survey polled respondents from across the state: 29% from an urban area in central N.C., 18% from an urban area in eastern N.C., 15% from a rural area in central N.C., 14% from a rural area in eastern N.C., 13% from an urban area in western N.C., and 12% from a rural area in western N.C.


If you took out student loans, how much did you borrow?


  • Survey respondents that took out student loans generally fell on the outer ends of the borrowing spectrum, with 66% borrowing nothing to $10,000, and 11% borrowing $40,000 or more.


UNC Wilmington


A national poll2 conducted by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation surveyed national opinions on the importance of post-secondary credentials, barriers to higher education, and levels of student debt.

  • When asked about “reasonable debt levels” for attending college, the largest group of respondents (22%) answered that $20,000 to $30,000 was a reasonable amount of loan debt for a bachelor’s degree. (Click on table to enlarge)


  • And, 28% answered between $10,000 to $20,000 for an associate’s degree.

Look for more poll results in the next post.


A Strong Economy through Post-Secondary Education

Introduction         Part One         Part Two        Part Three        Part Four

Promising Programs Statewide: Fayetteville State University 

Promising Programs Statewide: Elizabeth City State University

Promising Programs Statewide: College of The Albemarle 

Promising Programs Statewide: Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

Promising Programs Statewide: Bladen Community College 

Snapshot: Veteran and Military Students

Promising Programs Statewide: UNC-Greensboro

Promising Programs Statewide: Bennett College

Promising Programs Statewide: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Promising Programs Statewide: University of North Carolina at Pembroke

The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research is grateful to numerous, generous supporters. Major funding for this project is provided by the Lumina Foundation for Education, with additional funding from  the James G. Hanes Memorial Fund, and the Hillsdale Fund.


Show 2 footnotes

  1.  Survata Online Survey conducted Nov.-Dec. 2014, Respondents: 501 adults living in North Carolina. Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.
  2. “Postsecondary Education Aspirations and Barriers,” The survey of 1,533 individuals was conducted in November and December of 2014 by Gallup on behalf of the Lumina Foundation. Available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/182462/postsecondary-education-aspirations-barriers.aspx.

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