Seeing their parents struggle with unemployment and other money worries over the last few years, the nation's current batch of college freshmen increasingly view a bachelor's degree as a necessary ticket to better jobs, according to a UCLA survey being released Thursday.
In responding to the "American Freshman" poll, 85.9% of first-year students across the country said that being able to land a good job is a very important reason for attending college. That is the strongest response to that question in the 40 years it has been asked and is sharply higher than the 70.4% reply in 2006, before the recession began.
The survey asks freshmen to select reasons they are pursuing higher education. For a generation, the most popular one was "to learn more about things that interest me." This year, 82.9% said that was a major motive. But since 2009, the concern about jobs has been on top.
Also setting a record was the response to a query about whether becoming very well off financially is an "essential or very important" objective. The survey showed that 79.6% of the students described such affluence as a compelling goal, up from the pre-recession response of 73.4% in 2006 and double the levels during the more counter-cultural 1970s.