Michael T. Nietzel
March 27, 2023
One in four high school seniors ruled out prospective colleges because of the politics, policies or legal situations in the states where the colleges were located. That’s one of the main findings from a a new survey released by the Art & Science Group, a higher-education consulting firm.
The survey, conducted in February, was based on responses from 1,865 high school seniors, 778 of whom said they were planning to attend college. The sample was 62% female, 62% white, and came from families with an average annual income of $93,000.
The pattern of ruling out colleges based on the predominant political and social policies of the states where they were located was true for students of all political leanings. Among those identifying as liberal, 31% rejected institutions for such reasons, compared to 28% of those leaning conservative, and 22% of those saying they were political moderates. Not surprisingly, among students who didn’t indicate a political leaning, only 12% said that state politics and policies would influence where they attended college.
The pattern of political preference influencing likely college attendance was not affected by most individual characteristics. Respondents’ gender, race, income and region of the country did not make statistically significant differences.
Two characteristics did moderate the results:
A higher percentage of students identifying as LGBTQ+ (32%) reported rejecting institutions for political reasons than did students who identified as straight (21%).
And non-first-generation college students were a bit more likely to link their college-going preferences to state politics (26%) than were first-generation students (19%).