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Report: Many Americans Regret Their College Choices

  • Amanda Scott

Facing mounting student debt and lackluster job prospects, many American students say they would change some decisions they made while obtaining their college degrees, if they could.

According to a new Gallup survey, 51 percent of Americans would change at least one of their educational decisions, including their degree, institution or major.

The research, a collaboration between Gallup and Strada Education Network, found that 36 percent of Americans say they would change their field of study, while 28 percent said they would choose a different school or university.

Twelve percent said they would get a different type of degree.

Researchers found that a person’s desire to change their educational decisions varied on the type of school they attended.

Sixty-six percent of students who attended for-profit, two-year universities would change at least one of their education decisions, compared with 63 percent at a private, two-year nonprofit schools and 50 percent at public universities.

Also, those with higher amounts of student loan debt were also more likely to say they would change at least one educational decision.

Students who were more satisfied with their educational decisions were those completing trade, technical or vocational programs, as well as students who majored in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.

The survey added that those who completed their degree later in life – age 30 or older – had fewer regrets.

The poll was based on telephone interviews conducted June 29, 2016, to March 26, 2017, with 89,492 respondents throughout the United States and the District of Columbia.

It was released as part of a three-year study, called Education Consumer Pulse, which explores individuals’ perceptions of their education.
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