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Student voter study results

MSU Denver students beat the national average for voter turnout among both college and university students and American voters in general during the 2012 presidential election. Read on for results from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement.

April 2, 2014

MSU Denver students beat the national average for voter turnout among both college and university students and American voters in general during the 2012 presidential election.

The information comes from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) conducted by Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). It collected data about student registration and voting rates at more than 260 participating U.S. colleges and universities.

  • 68.5 percent of the University’s 22,927students (excludes nonresident aliens) registered to vote in the 2012 election.
  • 65.4 percent actually voted.
  • 95.5 percent of MSU Denver students who registered voted.

These percentages significantly outpaced both the national and state percentages of student voting.

  • 46.1 percent of students from all colleges and universities tracked in the NSLVE study voted in 2012.
  • Average voter turnout among students at public baccalaureate-granting institutions (MSU Denver’s classification) was 50.1 percent.
  • 56 percent of Colorado voters between 18 and 29 years of age voted.

“I was pleased, but not entirely surprised,” said Mark Potter, MSU Denver associate vice president for academic and civic collaboration. “I think as a university we have a high-profile commitment to community engagement, and so students at MSU Denver probably get a sense of the importance of civic participation that motivates them to vote.”

Here is a look at how MSU Denver students voted by their academic interests:

  • Liberal Art and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities – 79 percent
  • Social Studies and Education – 74 percent
  • Humanities – 71 percent
  • Communication, Journalism and Related Interests; Physical Sciences; and Professions – 69 percent
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies – 67 percent
  • Mathematics and Statistics – 66 percent
  • Health Professions and Related Sciences, Knowledge and Skills; Visual and Performing Arts – 65 percent
  • Psychology, Personal Awareness and Self-Improvement; Trades – 64 percent
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences – 63 percent
  • Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support – 62 percent
  • Computer and Information and Library Sciences – 60 percent
  • Technologies/Technicians – 58 percent
  • Parks and Recreation – 57 percent

“I think a lot of students who already have a sense of commitment to community and understand their civic roles are perhaps drawn to liberal arts, humanities and social sciences. And the subject matters in these majors also have an effect of reinforcing that sense of commitment,” Potter said.

MSU Denver recently convened a Community Engagement Steering Committee to evaluate strategies and think through barriers to community engagement. “We are looking at what kinds of changes to policies and procedures would facilitate student and faculty involvement,” Potter said.

Besides the NSLVE study, the committee is looking at other data, including the university’s results on a national survey about student involvement in initiatives such as volunteer activities and service learning. “Nobody yet has been taking a 30,000-foot view of them all together,” Potter said.

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