Capitol Alert

Make college affordable and accessible, Californians tell Gavin Newsom

Students from California State University, Sacramento, wait to receive diplomas at their graduation ceremony in 2012. In Switzerland, few students attend school full time after 9th grade. Instead, many follow an apprenticeship path to their careers.
Students from California State University, Sacramento, wait to receive diplomas at their graduation ceremony in 2012. In Switzerland, few students attend school full time after 9th grade. Instead, many follow an apprenticeship path to their careers. Sacramento Bee file

A majority of Californians view the state’s higher education system as unaffordable, according to a poll released Wednesday night.

The poll, from the Public Policy Institute of California, found that 58 percent of those surveyed view college affordability as a big problem, while another 25 percent said it is somewhat of a problem.

“Most Californians want the new governor to change course when it comes to public higher education, with fewer than half saying it is going in the right directions,” PPIC CEO Mark Baldassare said in a statement.

The same poll that a sizable majority of Californians, 74 percent, believe that California’s public higher education system should be a high or very high priority for California’s next governor, Gavin Newsom, while fewer than half, 48 percent, believe the system is going in the right direction.

A majority of Californians — 58 percent of African Americans, 56 percent of Asian Americans, 55 percent of whites and 53 percent overall — believe that low-income students are not given the educational opportunities that more well-to-do students receive. Just 34 percent of those surveyed said low-income students receive the same opportunities.

White Californians are less likely to believe people of color are denied education opportunities. Just 38 percent believe people of color are given less opportunity than white students. A majority of African Americans, 52 percent, and pluralities of Latinos, 48 percent, and Asian Americans, 45 percent, believe that students of color are denied opportunities.

More Californians, 77 percent, were united in the belief that local students should be given priority admission to public colleges and universities in their region. PPIC found that that sentiment was shared by Democrats, 81 percent, Republicans, 80 percent, and independents, 74 percent.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler
  Comments