New Study Finds Majority of Lehman Students Vote, More Than College Students Elsewhere
A recently released study that assesses the voting habits of college students across the country found that Lehman College students are more likely to head to the polls on Election Day than the average student at other colleges and universities.
With an undergraduate student body made up mostly of Bronx residents, a Lehman College student is likely a Bronx resident who votes.
Nearly three-quarters, 72.5 percent, of Lehman College’s 8,730 students who are registered voters went to the polls in 2016, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), an initiative of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE), at Tuft’s University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The report highlights student voting and registration rates, as well as data by voting method, age group, and education level, among other categories.
The findings show Lehman students are also more civically engaged as a group than the average Bronx resident--only 52 percent of registered voters in the Bronx voted in the 2016 general election, according to the New York City Board of Elections. The study does not collect data for off-year or special elections.
Of the College’s approximately 13,000 students, 53 percent voted in 2016, three points higher than the voting rate for the approximately 1,050 learning institutions that took part in the study, which include two-year community, and four-year public and private colleges and universities, according to the IDHE.
“The National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement results demonstrate that our students embody the civic-minded leadership of internationalist Herbert H. Lehman,” President Daniel Lemons said. “I’m not surprised that our engaged and empowered students continue his legacy by distinguishing themselves this way and voting at rates above the national average – putting their Lehman experience into practice at the voting booth in a way that warrants the attention of federal, state and local legislators.”
The IDHE studies higher education’s role in democracy, including issues of student political learning, discourse, equity and inclusion, and participation, according to an FAQ on the institute’s website. Its mission is to shift college and university priorities to advance political learning, agency and equity.
Schools may use the data to identify gaps in student engagement and begin working to address them, the IDHE said. For instance, the study shows Lehman students who study foreign education, health, public administration or social service professions are more likely to be voters than business, management and marketing students. Any get out the vote campaign the campus conducts could be focused on those particular students who are less likely to vote. Other information that may aid campus voting advocacy efforts include the fact that the older the student, the more likely they are to vote and that part-time students are more likely to be voters than full time ones.
“Electoral participation by students provides a snapshot into how well the College is doing with its current student body,” said Donald Sutherland, who drafted an issue brief showcasing highlights from the report. “The data is encouraging. Lehman College’s students vote at a higher rate than the average for students at other institutions, including Master’s Institutions and Public Master’s Institutions.”
Lehman’s Office of Campus life already has a voter registration drive planned for fall and spring, from Sept. 23–26, with special emphasis focus on Sept. 24, National Voter Registration Day; and another, March 2–5, prior to the 2020 general election.