Most Texans believe student loan debt is a “major problem” according to a statewide poll released Tuesday. The poll, commissioned by the Texas arm of Western Governors University, also found that more than 90 percent of Texans think it’s important for the state to fund financial aid for first-time college students from low- and middle-income families.
The majority of survey respondents also believe that obtaining some form of higher education is important for getting a better job and gaining respect from others, with 72 percent of respondents without a college degree naming cost as an obstacle to getting one. Student loan debt was deemed a “major problem” by 78 percent of those surveyed.
“The most interesting thing that you see here is, on one hand, a set of very clear concerns by very high margins about student debt loan as a problem, and cost as an impediment for Texans who don’t have a degree,” Jim Henson, a UT-Austin professor who conducted the poll, told Dallas News. Henson and fellow pollster Joshua Blank also conduct statewide polling for the Texas Politics Project at UT.
Nearly half of all respondents, 49 percent, believe the state is spending too little on college education, while 29 percent believe it is spending the right amount. The rising cost of college is expected to be an issue in the upcoming legislative session. UT-Austin has seen a more than 40 percent decline in support from the Texas Legislature over the last few decades.
More than 800 Texans completed the survey with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
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