Poll Finds State Politics, Legal Situations Affect US Students’ Decision to Apply to Colleges

United States North America Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News Apr 13, 2023

people in New York, United States

A new poll has revealed that politics and the legal situation in US states are the two main factors affecting students’ decision to apply to a college there. According to results, one in four students in the United States did not choose colleges solely for these reasons.

The poll by Art and Science Group, a consulting firm in Baltimore committed to higher education, showed that the gender of students, their race, family income, or region of residence were not factors that impacted their willingness to attend a school in states where they don’t like the political climate, Erudera.com reports.

More students identifying as LGBTQ+ (32 percent) rejected schools on political grounds compared to 21 percent of students identifying as straight.

26 percent of non-first-generation students also said they ruled out a school solely because of the politics in its state. This share was lower among first-generation students, 19 percent of whom reported rejecting an institution for such reasons.

Along political lines, liberals, conservatives, and moderates decided not to apply to a college due to politics in the state where it is located. According to figures, 31 percent of liberals decided on these grounds, followed by 28 percent of conservatives and 22 percent of moderates.

“In our research, students who identify as conservatives are about as likely to reject an institution on the politically charged ground overall as are students who classify themselves as liberals,” the study points out, adding that liberals, conservatives, and moderates are not statistically different, but they differ based on those who responded with “don’t know” about their political affiliation.

Colleges in the following states were excluded from the list of students:

  • Alabama (38 percent)
  • Texas (29 percent)
  • Louisiana (21 percent)
  • Florida (21 percent)

On the other hand, students self-identifying as liberals ruled out colleges in the South or Midwest, whereas conservative-leaning students were likely to exclude institutions in California or New York from their list.

Some reasons why students rejected colleges in the abovementioned states include being too Republican, too conservative about abortion and reproductive rights, lack of concern about racial equity, and too conservative about LGBTQ+ laws.

They also said getting a gun in these states is easier, and there is no adequate focus on the mental health support system.

The poll collected the responses of 1,865 US high-school seniors in January and February 2023. Some 778 said they plan to attend a four-year institution full-time next fall.

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