Pew released two surveys Sunday, one polling the general public about college and college life and the other surveying college presidents.
The majority of college presidents said they think education in the United States is headed in the right direction, the poll said.
College graduates in the survey were right with regard to earnings, Pew said. The U.S. Census Bureau last year reported graduates of a four-year college earn $19,550 more than non-graduates.
A majority of Americans, 57 percent, said the higher education system in the United States fails to give students good value for the money spent. Seventy-five percent of those polled said college is too expensive for most Americans to afford.
A majority of college presidents, 58 percent, said students are coming to college less prepared than their peers a decade earlier. More than half, 52 percent, said students study less now than students did a decade ago.
The figures are based on two Pew Research Center surveys conducted in mid-March, one a telephone survey of more than 2,100 adults, the other an online survey done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The margin of error in both surveys is less than 4.5 percentage points.