Californians are concerned about the cost of higher education but that does not mean a landslide of support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to freeze tuition at UC and Cal State for four years.

That’s among the findings of the new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll about higher education.

Released on Thursday, the poll of 1,500 registered California voters showed that 56% believe that tuition at public universities here are “not too affordable” or “not at all” affordable and 38% feel the fees are very or somewhat affordable.

However, Brown’s plan to withhold some funding if those schools do not freeze tuition for four years has the support of 45% of the poll respondents while 42% oppose it. The proposal will make college more affordable for middle-class families, according to one of the arguments presented in the survey. The counterpoint contended that such a freeze will lower the quality of education and cause a huge surge in costs four years ahead.

The poll also showed that Californians want to maintain prestigious public universities. Asked to choose a priority between keeping tuition down or maintaining a high quality of education, 46% went for “quality” and 36% chose low tuition.

Other results showed strong support for expanding online classes and opposition to enrolling a lot more students from other states and countries to UC and Cal State.

 

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larry.gordon@latimes.com

 

Twitter: @larrygordonlat