With the fall semester underway and COVID’s Delta variant raging across many parts of the country, a new Kaplan survey, conducted by College Pulse, finds overwhelming support among college students for vaccine and mask mandates on campus*. Of the 1,001 college students across the United States polled this month, 72 percent support colleges requiring students to be vaccinated if they want to attend in-person classes. This is a slight increase from a previous Inside Higher Ed/College Pulse Student Voice survey completed in May, which was sponsored by Kaplan, when 69 percent supported a vaccine mandate. The survey findings come on the heels of a number of colleges reporting a spike in COVID cases, forcing them to temporarily pivot back to remote learning.
As one pro-mandate student shared, “Public health is not a personal freedom. You not getting vaccinated puts everyone at risk.” One student who stands against the mandate said, “If I have a 99.9 percent survival rate from COVID and a healthy immune system, why would I ever be concerned?”
The survey also confirms a deep partisan divide regarding vaccinations that exists across the country. Of the students surveyed who self-identify as Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters, 96 percent support a vaccine mandate at colleges, up from 90 percent in April’s survey. But among those who self-identify as Republican or Republican-leaning voters, the percentage is just 24 percent, significantly down from 37 percent in April’s survey.
Strong Support for Mask Requirements
The survey also finds strong support for masking, with 79 percent favoring a mask mandate for indoor settings. Some in the survey begrudgingly support this, saying if they are already vaccinated, masking up may be overkill. And just like on the vaccine mandate question, the partisan divide is strong, with 94 percent of Democrats supporting it, but only 33 percent of Republicans in favor of it.
Vaccination Status and Community Engagement
Whether or not a college student gets the shot may also impact their social life, the survey also finds, with 63 percent saying that someone's vaccination status plays an important role in their decision to spend time in person together. One student who said vaccination status was a factor shared, “I'm vaccinated, so I'm not too worried about myself. Most people I know are vaccinated and those who aren't we are probably not agreeing on much lately and may not be hanging out with them right now anyway.” An opposing viewpoint came from another student who said, “Seems very elitist to not interact with someone based on their vaccination status.”
“College students remain eager for a return to normalcy, and most think that for their own safety and the safety of those around them that vaccination and mask mandates, though controversial in some quarters, remain the best solutions to get there,'' said Isaac Botier, executive director of college admissions programs, Kaplan.
To schedule an interview about the survey results, contact Russell Schaffer at 917.822.8190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Based on the results of an e-survey conducted September 7-9, 2021 of 1,001 four-year college and community college students from across the United States.
Kaplan is a global educational services company that provides individuals, universities, and businesses with a diverse array of services, including higher and professional education, test preparation, language training, corporate and leadership training, and student recruitment, online enablement and other university support services. With operations in nearly 30 countries, Kaplan serves nearly 1.1 million students each year and has partnerships with 2,000-plus universities, colleges, and schools/school districts, and more than 4,000 businesses globally. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). For more information, please visit www.kaptest.com.
Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)