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25% of high school students are rejecting colleges over state politics, poll reveals


A new poll reveals politics’ influence on where students choose to attend college, an impact that is especially felt by red states.

The Art & Science Group, a higher education consulting firm, shared responses from nearly 2,000 college-bound high school students in March after asking them whether they would rule out a college over political issues in its home state.

Nearly identical percentages of liberal and conservative students indicate that they consider state politics when evaluating schools. But while conservative students report rejecting schools because they are in California and New York, the other fourteen states ranked as most rejected are Republican majority. Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana made the top four.

[RELATED: Students stage walkout, protesting against DeSantis]

The issues cited as non-negotiables for liberal students include a “[l]ack of concern about racial equity” and “[t]oo conservative LGBTQ+ laws.” LGBTQ+ students are the subgroup most likely to rule out schools in red states.

Conservatives, according to the poll, are less animated by personal issues than by topics that are “more generalized,” such as the feeling that “[c]onservative voices are squashed” on campus.

In presenting a poll intended for guidance counselors and university leadership, the authors suggest next steps.

“[L]awmakers and campus administrators would do well to take student convictions into account as political change-making continues to infiltrate campus life,” they write.

Political change-making in Florida has some students reconsidering their decision, with pending legislation that would effectively eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programming–and academic disciplines that teach critical theory–at public colleges and universities.

As students protest the education reforms backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, others are thinking of leaving the state altogether. After DeSantis appointed six members to the New College of Florida’s Board of Trustees, they voted to eliminate the college’s DEI office.

[RELATED: South Carolina lawmakers join the fight to overhaul DEI initiatives]

In response, a liberal arts college in Amherst, Mass., offered “refuge” with no increases in tuition for students transferring from the New College. Hampshire College, which shares a progressive culture, reports hearing from 19 interested students as of Mar. 16, according to Boston.com.

A representative who spoke on behalf of Interim President Richard Corcoran calls Hampshire’s invitations “stunts.”

“For years, New College was threatened with extinction, but now, we have a bright and long future ahead of us,” the representative told Campus Reform. Corcoran is skeptical of Hampshire’s efforts, which “are not truly meant in the best interest of the students.”

How, the representative continues, will Hampshire “lure away students” given the state’s “higher education excellence” and “the amazing location of Sarasota, Florida?”

Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties listed for comment and will update this article accordingly.

Republished with permission from Campus Reform

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