Students Not Actually Avoiding Pro-Gun States After All – Bearing Arms

Students Not Actually Avoiding Pro-Gun States After All – Bearing Arms

In March, a report surfaced making some peculiar claims. It supposedly found that students were picking states based on politics, including based on gun laws. The argument was that pro-gun legislation was pushing students to choose schools in different states, thus hurting the university system in pro-gun states.

Of course, there were other measures besides gun control or the lack thereof in the study, but that’s the only one we’re concerned with here.

The argument was clear: Start passing gun control or start losing students in your universities.

It was a dumb argument, though, Part of that is while it might push some students away, it might attract others. Some kids might pick colleges in states more aligned to their views, sure, but that’s got to be a two-way street.

Yet it seems that the argument was even dumber than I originally thought because, well, it’s just not happening.

A new Gallup poll has determined, perhaps unsurprisingly, that laws restricting guns, abortion and DEI are not scaring away droves of students from attending colleges in red states.

The primary considerations of most young people choosing schools are things like the costs and quality of the institution, whether it meets their academic and life needs, and whether the degree in question is likely to get them the kind of job they want, the poll found.

In effect, a female student in a state that has outlawed abortion might be upset she can’t get one where she lives — but that doesn’t mean she’s going to move out of the state over it.

The poll takes care never to ask anything concrete, like: “Which matters more, in-state tuition or access to an easy abortion?”

It’s interesting to attempt to quantify how much influence state politics has on college decision-making. Of course the cost of the education matters a lot. In-state public tuition is always a bargain compared to out-of-state tuition or private tuition.

While most students reported that topics such as gun laws, reproductive rights and protecting DEI are on some level important to them, only a small percentage thought they were very important.

With that, while 48 percent of students find it “extremely important” that there are opportunities for “good paying jobs in your chosen field of study,” only 21 percent of students find it “extremely important” that laws in the college’s state provide access to “reproductive health services.”

That is a significant difference in importance, as there should be.

And as I noted, of those 21 percent, one has to acknowledge that a certain number of those 21 percent are people with pro-gun ideals who are looking to leave anti-gun states.

The truth of the matter is that while many graduating seniors have political opinions, most of them aren’t that strong. They might favor certain things and vote a certain way–assuming, of course, they vote at all–but it’s not a driving force in their lives. They’re much more worried about other things.

So why did the survey argue otherwise?

Because good-paying jobs in a chosen field isn’t nearly as sexy for headlines as warning people that incoming college students will avoid a given state.

What’s more, as noted in the above-quoted piece, in-state tuition versus out-of-state tuition can be a significant factor. I know it was for me when I was shopping for colleges back in the day, and college was a lot more reasonable back then than it is now.

In short, though, it seems what the original claim said was happening isn’t really.

Shocking, I know.

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