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Most Americans Support Democrats’ Idea of Free College [Poll]

More than half of the Americans support policy proposals of many Democratic presidential candidates to make colleges tuition-free, the 13th annual Education Next poll of American public opinion on education policy has revealed.

Education Next surveyed more than 3,000 adults and found 60 percent of them were in favor of making public four-year colleges tuition-free. The support for making public two-year colleges free rose further to 69 percent.

The support for the policy proposal is mostly found among Democrats, whereas Republicans are most likely to oppose free-tuition for four and two-year colleges.

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro promised to eliminate tuition at public colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools, while Pete Buttigieg floated the idea of creating a federal partnership that will make public tuition affordable for all and completely free for those with lower household incomes.

The idea of free college or training is mostly supported by African Americans. In a recent survey, nearly 85 percent of black respondents expressed the highest support for the free college policy followed by Asian Americans and Latinos.

When it comes to people’s opinion on public or private four-year colleges and universities and K–12 schools, more than 66 percent of them rate private four-year colleges and universities with grades of A or B. Only 24 percent rated K–12 schools wither with an A or B.

The survey also looked at how people perceive allowing undocumented immigrants to be eligible for the in-state college tuition rate if they graduated from high school in that particular state.

The general public was divided over the issue with 44 percent supporting and 44 percent opposing it. With more than 60 percent support, Hispanics and Democrats are most likely to endorse undocumented immigrants getting in-state tuition. Republicans and whites voted mostly in its opposition.

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