Student Voting Rises at Muskegon Community College with help from Tufts University in Boston

Tawon Cooper, Contributing Writer

The National Study on Learning, Voting and Engagement from Tufts University in Boston recently released their national report and Muskegon Community College student voting has improved since 2016 and is higher than the national average for Associate Degree-granting Institutions. 

The National Study on Learning, Voting, and Engagement from Tufts University in Boston, NSLVE, is a non-partisan study launched in 2013 by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education to offer universities and colleges a chance to understand their student registration, voting rates, political learning, and engagement. The results show that Muskegon Community College students voted 12.7 percent higher in the 2020 presidential election as compared to the 2016 presidential election. In 2019, MCC joined the All in Campus Democracy Challenge; a national awards program that privately collects student data for the NSLVE and recognizes colleges and universities for their commitment to raise student voting rates by encouraging institutions to help students become active and informed citizens in U.S. governmental elections.  

MCC has risen above the national voting average for Associate Degree-granting Institutions and Elizabeth Fox, MCC Institutional Research Analyst, was pleased to inform MCC. 

“On this election day, we are pleased to see that our student voting rates were about 9 percent higher than the national average for Associate Degree-Granting institutions,” she said. “Additionally, that from the 2016 presidential election to the 2020 presidential election, our student voting rate increased 18 points for the 18–21-year-olds, and for Hispanic/Latinx students the rate increased 17 points.”  

Young voters are getting involved and the numbers are increasing around the country. According to the NSLVE study, the percentage of national college students who voted in the presidential election of 2020 hit a record-breaking 66 percent, which is a 14 percent increase from 2016; A higher voter growth than the rest of the public for that period and nearly put college student vote rates close in numbers with the rest of the population.  

Nancy Thomas, director of the Democracy of Higher Education at Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life, was stunned by the increase and told the Boston Globe, “That’s a first for college students and an exponential jump from past elections. Candidates would be very smart to start focusing on communities of young people, and particularly college campuses.”  

Although little is known if these studies are increasing knowledge, skills, and dedication, Fox believes this nonpartisan effort is a step in the right direction for getting students involved. 

“I hope this show of youth engagements lifts your spirits as much as mine for the future of our country,” Fox concluded.