New survey is bad news for colleges' bottom lines

A new survey shows that more than half of young Americans believe their college degrees were “very or somewhat unimportant” for the jobs they currently hold. Yet, a separate survey shows that young Americans still overwhelmingly trust college professors over the military, police, and religious leaders. 

The new August survey, conducted by The Harris Poll for TD Ameritrade, consisted of 3,054 participants. Fifty-one percent of the 1,026 “young millennials” in the survey said that their degree was not important in obtaining their current job. Forty-four percent of the 1,027 Generation Z respondents said their degree was “very or somewhat important” for their current jobs. The survey defined “young millennials” as those between the ages of 22 and 28, while it defined “Gen Z” as those between the ages of 15 and 21. 

[RELATED: SURVEY: Young Americans trust college profs more than military, police, religious leaders]

Given these results, it might not come as a surprise that some young Americans are deciding not to pursue college at all.

“I definitely thought about going to college because those schools are all really good. But in the end, I knew I would learn more discovering things on my own and working in the real world,” Malavika Vivek, who decided to work for a company instead of going to Caltech, UC Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon, told MarketWatch. “I could either pay money and not get real-world experience, or I could earn money and get work experience.”

About one in five Gen Z members and young millennials said that they might choose or have chosen to avoid college altogether as Vivek did. More than 30 percent of Gen Z and 18 percent of young millennials also claimed that they have considered taking a gap year before college. 

Despite the increasing attitude that college may not be necessary, young Americans still overwhelmingly trust college professors. 

[RELATED: After prof calls to abolish grading, Emma Meshell asks, what’s the point of college, then?]

As previously reported by Campus Reform, a Pew Research Center survey found that 74 percent of young American adults between the ages of 18-29 trust college professors. This number is significantly more than the percentages in which they trust other key institutions, which hover around 69 percent, 67 percent, and 50 percent for the military, police officers, and religious leaders, respectively. 

For older Americans, the survey found much more trust in the military, police officers, and religious leaders, and far less trust in college professors. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai