Student Voting Rates Rise
Report Shows COM’s Success at Spreading Political Awareness
KENTFIELD / NOVATO, CA—May 18, 2018—With the June primary election right around the corner, efforts at College of Marin (COM) to increase student voter registration have paid off. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) campus report, the data reveals a significant increase in the number of voting students across all data assortments; i.e. gender, age group, voting method, enrollment status, etc.
Colleges and universities have always held a share of the responsibility for spreading political awareness among students. A commonly held notion is that students don’t contribute enough to support democracy. This notion is being eroded at COM. Based on data in the NSLVE report, it is clear that COM is a leader when compared to other colleges and universities across the nation that participated in the study.
The report makes a detailed comparison between the statistics of 2012 and 2016. In 2012, 66.4 percent of the students that enrolled at COM registered to vote. In 2016, there was an 8 percent increase, bringing the total number of enrolled students who registered to vote up to 74.2 percent.
Civic learning and political awareness are critically important for today’s students. Their participation in elections throughout U.S. history has always been an area of criticism. While the number of students who register to vote is an important indicator, the impact is made when they actually cast their ballot.
Going beyond voter registration, the report also showed great success when considering the voting rate of students. Of the COM students who had registered to vote in 2012, 78 percent voted. In 2016, the number who cast their vote rose to 84 percent.
Looking at the statistics for other institutions throughout the country, it is clear that COM's efforts were serious and the progress was visible. The 2016 combined voting rate of students at all participating colleges and universities was 50.4 percent.
Students for Social Justice, a club led by faculty advisor Susan Rahman, was one of 25 recipients awarded a $10,000 Civic Impact grant by Foundation for California Community Colleges in 2016. This grant enabled COM students to participate in service-learning projects and engage in issues that affect the community, state, and nation. In a rapidly changing political environment, projects promoting lifelong civics-related skills and volunteerism have helped COM students stand out as civically engaged and better prepared to ensure that more voices are heard as their communities make decisions.
The deadline to vote in the June primary election is Monday, May 21. Register to vote at https://registertovote.ca.gov/.
About College of Marin
Established in 1926, College of Marin remains committed to educational excellence, providing equitable opportunities, and fostering success in all members of its diverse community. With campuses in Kentfield and Novato, students of all ages have affordable access to an exciting variety of credit and noncredit courses as well as community education classes for lifelong learning. College of Marin is one of 114 public community colleges in California and approximately 13,000 credit, noncredit, and community education students enroll annually.
College of Marin is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.