The Trump ef­fect in col­lege ad­mis­sions

Ru­ral out­reach ef­forts in­crease; in­ter­na­tional re­cruit­ment gets harder

The Dallas Morning News - - In Depth Higher Education - Nick An­der­son, The Washington Post

A siz­able share of col­lege ad­mis­sion di­rec­tors say they have in­ten­si­fied ef­forts to re­cruit in ru­ral ar­eas and find more white stu­dents from low-in­come fam­i­lies fol­low­ing Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey from the online news out­let In­side Higher Ed.

The 2016 elec­tion and Trump’s state­ments and ac­tions since tak­ing of­fice posed chal­lenges for higher ed­u­ca­tion in mul­ti­ple ways. His cam­paign cap­i­tal­ized on heavy sup­port from ru­ral Amer­ica and from white vot­ers with­out col­lege de­grees — sec­tors of the pop­u­la­tion many col­leges his­tor­i­cally have strug­gled to reach. His ef­forts this year to tem­po­rar­ily bar trav­el­ers from sev­eral Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries, cit­ing na­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns, and his state­ments in fa­vor of tighter im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment have fu­eled wor­ries among for­eign schol­ars and stu­dents about whether they will face bar­ri­ers to re­search and stud­ies in the United States.

The In­side Higher Ed sur­vey, con­ducted with Gallup, yielded var­i­ous find­ings that point to a Trump ef­fect in ad­mis­sions:

■ Thirty-eight per­cent of those who re­sponded said their schools — pub­lic and pri­vate — have stepped up re­cruit­ment in ru­ral ar­eas since the elec­tion. Thirty per­cent re­ported the same about re­cruit­ing stu­dents from poor white fam­i­lies. A smaller share — 8 per­cent — said their schools are seek­ing more po­lit­i­cally con­ser­va­tive stu­dents.

■ Ad­mis­sions di­rec­tors were more likely to en­dorse than re­ject the view that the elec­tion shows col­leges, es­pe­cially elite col­leges, should do more to re­cruit in ru­ral ar­eas. Thirty-six per­cent agreed with that idea, while 22 per­cent dis­agreed.

■ A large ma­jor­ity — 76 per­cent — agree that Trump’s state­ments and poli­cies have made it harder to re­cruit in­ter­na­tional stu­dents. Nine per­cent dis­agreed.

Scott Jaschik, editor of In­side Higher Ed, said the find­ings re­leased Wed­nes­day re­flect at least two ways Trump ap­pears to be in­flu­enc­ing ad­mis­sions. For some in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, he said, Trump is “clearly a fac­tor” in their think­ing. Many col­leges “get a lot of ques­tions not just about Trump,” Jaschik said, but about the racial and po­lit­i­cal tensions in the United States that have de­vel­oped dur­ing his administration. “Imag­ine what the march in Char­lottesville looked like in much of the world,” he said, re­fer­ring to a pa­rade through the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia cam­pus last month by torch­bear­ing white su­prem­a­cists.

In ad­di­tion, Jaschik said, Trump’s vic­tory in Novem­ber over Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton prompted “soul-search­ing” among col­lege lead­ers about a po­lit­i­cal dis­con­nect be­tween cam­puses and their neigh­bors that was laid bare on elec­tion night.

“There are col­lege towns all over Amer­ica, where most peo­ple who work at or are en­rolled in the col­lege voted one way, and they woke up and re­al­ized that peo­ple in the sur­round­ing towns and coun­ties voted an­other way,” he said. Some of those col­leges are now seek­ing to reach out to those ru­ral ar­eas for stu­dents. “That is some fall­out from the elec­tion,” Jaschik said. “It is not good if you’re a pub­lic or pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion and if only sub­ur­ban­ites think of you as a great place to go to col­lege.”

But the sur­vey sug­gested there were some lim­its to the in­tro­spec­tion. Ad­mis­sion di­rec­tors were far more likely to re­ject than em­brace the idea that col­leges should try to in­crease po­lit­i­cal diver­sity by re­cruit­ing more con­ser­va­tive stu­dents, es­pe­cially on cam­puses with over­whelm­ingly lib­eral stu­dent bod­ies. Fifty per­cent dis­agreed with that view, while 13 per­cent agreed.

The find­ings were drawn from a web sur­vey of ad­mis­sions di­rec­tors and en­roll­ment man­agers con­ducted July 20 to Aug. 16. Of more than 3,500 in­vited to par­tic­i­pate, 453 com­pleted the sur­veys. Two hun­dred were from pub­lic col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, 245 from pri­vate, non­profit schools, and eight from the for­profit sec­tor.

2012 File Photo/The Associated Press

A tour group walks through the cam­pus of Har­vard Univer­sity in Cam­bridge, Mass. Many col­lege ad­mis­sion di­rec­tors say they have in­ten­si­fied ef­forts to re­cruit in ru­ral ar­eas and find more white stu­dents from low-in­come fam­i­lies fol­low­ing Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion vic­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.