One in four high school students dropped out of college because of political, policy, or legal conditions in the states where the colleges are located. That's one of the key findings of a new study by higher education consulting firm Art & Science Group.
The February survey was based on responses from 1,865 high school seniors, of whom 778 said they planned to attend college. The sample was 62% female, 62% white, and came from households with a median annual income of $93,000.
This is true for students of all political persuasions, depending on the political and social policies of the states in which they shared colleges. Among liberals, 31% disapprove of institutions for this reason, conservatives 28% and moderate politicians 22%. Unsurprisingly, among students with no political views, only 12% said politics and government policy would influence where they would go to university.
A model of policy choices affecting college attendance is independent of most individual characteristics. Respondents' gender, race, income, and region did not produce statistically significant differences.
Two features changed the results:
- A higher proportion of LGBTQ+ students (32%) than straight students reported withdrawing from educational institutions for political reasons.
- Non-first-generation college students are more likely to connect their college choice to public policy (26%) than first-generation students (19%).
The four states where liberal arts students are most likely to be rejected are Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. California and New York were the most upset by conservative students.
A third of respondents said they had turned down colleges in their country because of their political or social policies.
The political issues most cited by liberal students when choosing a college were "too Republican," too conservative on abortion laws, too indifferent to racial equality, too conservative, and too soft on LGBTQ laws. . He was circumspect and showed sufficient concern for mental health issues.
When it came to college choices, conservative students chose states that were "more Democratic," more lenient toward LGBTQ laws, with "overwhelming" conservative votes and more liberal laws on abortion and reproductive rights.
These new findings are consistent with previous research showing that the US Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson decision on women's health has influenced college students' decision making.
Last year's BestColleges poll asked respondents about the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe. Wade will affect your decision to stay in the state where you currently attend college, or to attend college for an undergraduate/degree program in a particular state.
- 43% of current students answered yes to this question, 45% answered no, and 12% could not answer. Among current graduate students, 42% answered yes, 40% answered no, and 17% could not answer.
- Although less likely than enrolled students, the overturning of Roe v. Wade will influence their decision to attend college in a particular state: 39% of undergraduates and 35% of alumni say so.
The survey results highlight another challenge for colleges as they compete to meet shrinking enrollment numbers. The report concludes: "As political changes permeate campus life, legislators and campus administrators will consider student input. Most importantly, as regional student markets change, universities must pay close attention. Individuality and uniqueness to attract students to their markets despite the problems of the social policy of the state".