May 5, 2023 - Education

State politics impact students' college choices

Share of college students who say reproductive health laws are important to their decision to enroll
Data: Lumina Foundation, Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

Many students are choosing where to attend college based on abortion policies and political leanings, Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson writes.

Why it matters: As Republican officials continue to push for stricter abortion laws and crack down on perceived political biases on college campuses, it could attract more conservative students to Ohio while driving more liberal students away.

The big picture: A quarter of prospective college students would shun a school in a state with opposing politics or policies, regardless of whether the student is liberal, moderate or conservative, per the higher-ed consultancy Art & Science Group.

  • And 72% of college students say the reproductive health laws in their school's state affect their decision to stay enrolled, per a recent survey by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation.

State of play: A majority of Ohio's high school graduates stay in-state for college, but we're still feeling the effects of brain drain.

  • Ohio loses more high school graduates to out-of-state schools than it receives from other states.

Of note: Gov. Mike DeWine proposed creating a $5,000 annual scholarship for top high school students who attend an Ohio college or university — it awaits its fate in ongoing budget negotiations.

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