FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2017
State Free College Programs Supported Across Party Lines
A majority of Americans from all political persuasions support state programs making college tuition free for those academically qualified. Polling conducted by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) on behalf of the Campaign for Free College Tuition (CFCT) after November’s election indicates that 88 percent of Clinton voters and 54 percent of Trump voters support state initiatives to make college tuition free. Overall support for providing free tuition at public universities or colleges for anyone who is academically qualified is 73 percent.
Support among Democrat (89%) and Republican (56%) subgroups nearly mirrors the Clinton/Trump voter responses. Similarly, support by independents (71%) closely mirrors the overall support of tuition-free college. In states that voted for Donald Trump, state-level programs that make college tuition free enjoy 69 percent support. Blue state support was 78 percent.
The poll also explored specific requirements for state programs to make public colleges tuition free. Both college and high school GPA requirements garner the most support – 72 percent and 63 percent respectively. Support for income-based stipulations is more controversial. Only 42 percent support, and 23 percent oppose, programs limited to those who “otherwise couldn’t afford” college. At the same time, less than a majority (48%) support, and 24 percent oppose, providing free college to all students “regardless of income.”
CFCT President and CEO Morley Winograd stated, “the poll indicates making public college tuition free for those academically qualified is embraced across the political spectrum. On the state level, Governors from both red and blue states have released, or enacted, well received bold plans to make college tuition free. With a college degree or certificate being increasingly necessary for success and the price of tuition rising faster than any other item in a family’s budget, I expect others will follow the lead of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D).”
The online quantitative survey, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland in December, had 834 participants with a ±2.85% margin of error at the 90% confidence level.
Slides containing additional polling information can be found here.
About the Campaign for Free College Tuition
CFCT is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization established in the State of Washington in 2014 to educate parents, students, the higher education community, policy makers and taxpayers about efforts needed to fundamentally reform our nation’s system for financing higher education. We believe free college tuition is a goal that is supported by people of all political persuasions and are proud to have both major parties represented in our leadership.
About Penn Schoen Berland
Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a member of Young & Rubicam Group and the WPP Group, is a global research-based consultancy that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip corporate, political and entertainment clients. PSB's operations include over 200 consultants and a sophisticated in-house market research infrastructure with the capability to conduct work in over 90 countries. The company operates offices around the world, including in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, London, Madrid and Dubai, which are supported by in-house field capabilities and fully equipped to provide the complete creative solutions PSB clients need. More at www.psbresearch.com.
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