With every passing day, it seems like our politicians and leaders are drawing deeper allegiances to their party. Now, it looks like students are, too. A new report uncovered that one out of four college-eligible students are crossing off schools they were previously considering based on the state’s political climate.
Art and Science Group LLC’s publication studentPOLL interviewed 1,865 domestic high school seniors, 778 of which intend on joining a four-year postsecondary institution. It found that among the 24% of students who ruled out schools, they varied almost evenly across the political spectrum. Liberal students were slightly ahead at 31%, with conservatives coming in second at 28% and moderates at 22%. Conservative students, however, were the most likely to pass up a school in their home state.
Students who identified as LGBTQ+ were the most likely subgroup (32%) to rule out a school based on their perception of its political landscape, which may be due to the growing national legislation targeting these kinds of students. Non-first-generation students (26%) were also more picky than first-generation (19%). However, gender, race, household income and region of residence did not make predictable indicators of a student likely to rule out a school.
Liberal students cited specific reasons for ruling out a school in a state, such as being too conservative on abortion and reproductive rights, lack of concern about racial equity, stringent LGBQT+ laws, loose gun laws and inadequate focus on mental health support. On the other hand, conservative-leaning students rationalized broader issues, like the inhibition of conservative voices on campus.
Interestingly, a strong portion of both conservative- and liberal-leaning students reacted negatively to states’ conservative stances on abortion and reproductive rights, which shows there’s at least one topic students of different political spectrums can agree on.
States ruled out by more than 25% of prospective college students
- South Carolina
- New York
That’s 30% of states getting ruled out by at least a quarter of all prospective students. New York and California were the only two states ruled out by a majority of conservative-leaning students. The rest of the states were primarily ruled out by liberal-leaning students. Alabama (38%) and Texas (29%) were the most likely states to be ruled out by college-eligible students.