A new poll by BritainThinks has found that the British public feel positively about their country’s universities by a majority of five-to-one.
The poll of 2,063 UK adults showed just 9% of the public feel negative towards universities, with 48% saying they feel positive (31% said they were neutral and 13% said “don’t know”).
70% of the public also believe that British universities are some of the best in the world.
Despite the backlash over tuition fees in recent years, the majority still value the benefits of getting a degree, with 66% saying that they would continue to encourage their children to attend university.
It also seems that the more recent we went to university, the more we are likely to think positively about our time there, with 18-24 year olds holding the most positive views out of any age category.
Pollsters said the results were surprising given the recent stream of negative news in the media, and among politicians, about higher education.
Viki Cooke, Founding Partner, BritainThinks, said:
In spite of a wave of negative media coverage, the public is positive and proud of the sector, recognising its importance and contributions to individuals, local communities and the nation.
The poll was commissioned by Universities UK as part of a wider project into the perception of universities by the British public.
Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said:
There is a myth that the public are sceptical about the merits of universities. In fact, as this research shows, the opposite is true. The public are hugely positive towards universities and see the benefits of a university education.