(NEW YORK) — The college degree continues to lose its value in the face of costs that overwhelm the finances of many American families.
That’s the finding of a national survey of 3,000 Americans commissioned by Country Financial. According to the poll, the number of adults who think college is a good investment plummeted from 81 percent in 2008 to just 57 percent in 2012.
While recognition of the value of a college education was on the upswing from 2007 to 2008, rising from 78 percent to 81 percent, since the Great Recession began the figures have dropped like a stone. The steepest decline came in 2008 and 2009, when the number of people that saw college as a good investment dropped from 79 percent to 64 percent.
Despite the pessimism surrounding college education as an investment, the survey found that Americans were willing to spend more for a college degree. In 2012, four in ten Americans viewed student loan debt of $20,000 or more as acceptable, up from three in ten Americans in 2011.
“Even with the cost of college rising faster than inflation, a college degree is more valuable than ever,” Joe Buhrmanan, a manager at Country Financial said in a statement. ”And, an aggressive plan for funding your child’s education can help eliminate the burden of unmanageble student loan debt.”
In the survey by Country Financial Security, the majority of Americans found the quality of education to be the most important aspect when evaluating colleges, while 25 percent considered the cost of college to be more important.
According to the U.S. Department of Education College Affordability Center, the most expensive four-year non-profit college is Connecticut College with a whopping tuition price tag of $43,990. At $15,250, Pennsylvania State (Main Campus) holds the number one spot for least expensive tuition at a four-year public institution.
The individuals most likely to be saddled with the rising cost of college are parents. According to the survey, 80 percent of Americans believe that mom and dad should be partially responsible for footing the bill.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News
Susie East, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN Newswire
Jethro Mullen Ivana Kottasova and Patrick Gillespie, CNN