According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), Texas Lutheran University’s (TLU) student voting rate significantly increased during the 2018 election to 44 percent—up from just 10.6 percent in 2014. While college voting numbers doubled across the country, TLU surpassed the Average Institutional Voting Rate among campuses where the national average sits at 39 percent for 2018.
The NSLVE numbers are based on research conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. The study shows widespread increases across the nation where voting rates at participating college campuses doubled on average compared to the previous 2014 midterm. The 2018 numbers are also nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s overall average turnout rate of 19.7 percent.
As the only national study of college-student voting, the NSLVE utilizes the records of more than 10 million students at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Participants, like TLU, receive their results in an official report from the NSLVE to support political learning and civic engagement, as well as to identify and address gaps in political and civic participation.
“We strive to educate our students both inside and outside of the classroom so that they can be active citizens in their communities,” said TLU Center For Servant Leadership Director Morgan Klaser.
Klaser also points out how TLU’s voter turnout shows the intentional efforts the university has made to expand resources for students are working. For example, events like “Party at the Polls” were implemented this past year to make voting more fun and created an on-campus polling place more accessible for students.
“One important way to be a more active citizen is to be a practicing voter, and college students often need assistance and reminders about the voting process and its importance,” Klaser said. “TLU’s commitment to civic engagement has driven the Jon & Sandra Moline Center for Servant Leadership to focus more attention on voter engagement, especially by working to become a designated Voter Friendly Campus through Campus Vote Project and NASPA in February 2019.”
About the IDHE & NSLVE
Part of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) is an applied research center focused on college and university student political learning and engagement in democracy. IDHE researchers study student voting, equity, campus conditions for student political learning, discourse, participation, and agency for underrepresented and marginalized students. IDHE's signature initiative, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, is a service to colleges and universities that provides participating institutions with tailored reports of their students' voting rates. Launched in 2013 with 250 campuses, the study now serves more than 1,000 institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.