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National study shows big gain in HCC student voting

November 3, 2021

Heartland Community College student efforts to get their peers to the polls have made an impact.

 The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) reported that Heartland Community College student voting increased over 10% in last year’s presidential election, rising to 58.3% in 2020 from a rate of 47.5% in 2016. 

Led by the HCC Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Team, the College participated in a number of campus voter registration and voting information drives in 2019 and 2020. The team exceeded their own goal of 55% student voter rate for the 2020 Presidential Election. 

As part of the ALL IN campus action plan, the HCC Student Government Association and Political Science Club worked to provide election and candidate information to students. Heartland Students in COMM 101 prepared persuasive speeches for classes on why voting matters. The College also sponsored a contest in which students created short videos to raise voting awareness. 

All efforts were completely non-partisan and designed to help provide access and information to the student body. 

The increase in student voting was the first achievement in the effort to increase civic engagement at the College. In 2020, Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille joined more than 160 college presidents and chancellors in committing to full student voter registration and participation in all elections through the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.  

“By supporting the full student voter participation of all eligible students, we reinforce our commitment to service-learning and civic engagement,” said Heartland President Keith Cornille. “As part of our mission to promote student success, it is vital to assist our students with the tools of civic and social responsibility that will help empower them and bring their strong voices to the community we serve.” 

IDHE’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) is the nation’s largest study of college and university student voting. Institutions must opt-in to the study, and at this time, nearly 1,200 campuses of all types—community colleges, research universities, minority-serving and women’s colleges, state universities, and private institutions—participate. The dataset reflects all 50 states and the District of Columbia and includes 49 of the nation’s 50 flagship schools. IDHE uses de-identified student records to ensure student privacy. The 2020 dataset is robust with 8,880,700 voting-eligible students representing 1,051 colleges and universities.

Written by: Steve Fast