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How Well Do State Colleges Prepare Students for the Future?

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Are Virginia colleges and universities preparing students for the workforce of tomorrow? Perceptions are split along partisan lines and geographic areas.

Polling from Virginia Commonwealth University shows Democrats are more likely to think Virginia colleges and universities are preparing students to meet the workforce needs of the future. Republicans are more likely to disagree.

Farrah Stone Graham at VCU says there’s a similar partisan split on how people view whether colleges and universities are preparing students to be engaged citizens.

“Along two different questions, you see those partisan differences for, I would say, more along the lines of preparing for adulthood, right? Whether it’s having those workforce skills that you need or being an engaged citizen.”

Opinions are also divided along regional lines. People Southside are less likely to think colleges and universities do a good job teaching writing and communication skills.

Joseph DeFilippo at the State Council of Higher Education says regional differences are probably rooted in varying degrees of familiarity with higher education.

“One of the goals that SCHEV has is to increase attainment across the state, and I think if that happens you may see some of those lower numbers go up.”

Leaders in higher ed from across Virginia are meeting in Richmond this month to talk about financial aid, annual budgeting and a report on the record number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in Virginia this year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.