DiscoverPlain English with Derek ThompsonWhy Americans are Losing Faith in College
Why Americans are Losing Faith in College

Why Americans are Losing Faith in College

Update: 2023-09-261
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Twenty years ago, higher education was one of the most trusted institutions in America. Today, confidence in higher ed is falling among every demographic: young and old, men and women, Republicans and Democrats, those who didn't finish high school and those with framed PhDs on their wall. And it’s not just attitudes. In the fall of 2010, there were more than 18 million undergraduates enrolled in colleges and universities across the U.S. Last year, there were about 15 million undergrads. That’s a decline of roughly 16 percent. In a recent essay for the New York Times, author Paul Tough, who’s published several excellent books about college in America, wrote: “Americans have turned away from college at the same time that students in the rest of the world have been flocking to campus. Why?” Today’s guest is Paul Tough. We talk about why a noxious stew of economics, culture, and inequality has turned a surprising number of Americans against college. Who’s to blame, and what happens next?

If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com

Host: Derek Thompson

Guest: Paul Tough

Producer: Devon Manze

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Why Americans are Losing Faith in College

Why Americans are Losing Faith in College

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