College-student voting doubled nationwide, according to national study
Wesleyan University today reported that student voting on its campus was up in last year’s election, increasing to 46.8% in 2018 from a rate of 16.6% in 2014. The full campus report can be viewed here: 2014 and 2018 NSLVE Report-Wesleyan University
Wesleyan has a long history of providing opportunities to enhance the political education of our students through community engagement. Wesleyan’s Civic Action Plan underscores our goal to “prepare our students to engage in civic participation throughout their lives.”
This report is part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. The study shows that nationwide, the voting rates at participating college campuses doubled on average compared to the previous 2014 midterm. In 2018, the Average Institutional Voting Rate (AIVR) among campuses in the study was 39.1 percent, nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s average turnout rate of 19.7 percent. Turnout increases were widespread, with virtually all campuses seeing an increase over 2014.
Today’s report is based on the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), conducted by IDHE, which is the only national study of college-student voting. It is based on the voting records of more than 10 million students at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; IDHE does not receive any information that could individually identify students or how they voted. The study provides reports to participating colleges and universities, like Wesleyan, which use them to support political learning and civic engagement, as well as to identify and address gaps in political and civic participation.
In 2018, the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships was charged with voter registration and engagement. To prepare for the midterm elections, we launched a number of new initiatives to support student political engagement. We launched the Political Engagement Fund, and awarded 30 stipends for students to do campaign or political advocacy work locally or in their home states. We hosted Engage Today: Bridging the Ballot and the Block – a half-day conference highlighting local leaders activating voters on the ground, as well as students engaged in political activism on campus and beyond. And we continued to support student-led voter registration initiatives – including the WSA’s Storm the Dorms event. We are proud of the work put in by politically active students as they continue to make Wesleyan an Engaged University.