Why so liberal?
Why do most college students call themselves liberal?
It is a well known stereotype that college students tend to be democratic, but why exactly do so many students identify as liberal?
When pondering this question, many may conjure up the image of a blasé, pot smoking, Occupy Wall Street activist who is typically naïve when it comes to politics. This is not a completely accurate representation, however. Many liberal college students have a strong understanding of their political choices and this knowledge very well may demonstrate why so many students choose to go liberal.
The most appealing feature of the democratic party to students is of course, the aid they provide for education. As Bloomsburg University senior and political science major Geno Dayton said, he chose the democratic party not only because he was raised as one, but because of the “democratic values and stance towards education. They do a lot for students.”
For an example of democratic student aid, let’s look to President Obama. According to the Presidents campaign website, during his presidency he successfully fought to keep federal student loan interest rates from doubling for more than 7 million students. For his re-election campaign, Obama referenced his plans to reduce the ever increasing college tuition rates.
Both of these moves mean that a student will face less debt after they graduate.
“I don’t want to be stuck in more debt than I already will be,” said Dayton who also believes a big reason Obama is so popular among the college crowd is that he wants to keep tuition down.
This is a far cry from candidate Mitt Romney’s plans for higher education. Romney struck a wrong chord with the college demographic when he advised them to “shop around” when looking into furthering their education.
According to The New York Times, Obama attacked his opponent saying that Romney would cut student loans and grants, and refuse to act against the rising tuition costs which would undoubtedly crush the dreams of higher education for millions of students. “Conservatives don’t like students because they think that college is for the wealthy,” said Timothy Stepanski, a Democratic sophomore Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science major at Bloomsburg.
So what does all this mean for Bloomsburg University? Stepanski believes that the president’s plans will not affect the university so much as it will the students. “If grants stay in place, it will allow more students to go to school.” Stepanski also voiced his opinion on presidential candidate Romney’s stance on higher education saying, “What Romney’s vernacular is, he wants to refocus the Pell grant and such on those who need it the most. This will restrict access for most students.” Restricted access to financial aid means fewer students will be able to afford to further their education.
So it seems that the overwhelming majority of college student’s support for the democratic party stems from the fact that it aims to make higher education an achievable goal for everyone.