New Research Examines Racial Identity Salience among College Students

Posted by Kevin Eagan on February 26th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Research, Surveys | No Comments »

This blog was written by Dr. Adriana Ruiz Alvarado.

Even in the wake of escalating racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the nation, many still contend that we are living in a postracial era. Continuous racial incidents on college campuses, however, demonstrate that race is still very salient for many students. The salience of a social identity (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation) refers to the frequency with which individuals think about their group membership. Because there is variability both between and within racial groups, it is important to explicitly show how racial identity salience is related to multiple dimensions of the climate for diverse campuses.

In Thinking about race: The salience of racial identity at two- and four-year colleges and the climate for diversity, Hurtado, Ruiz Alvarado, and Guillermo-Wann employ multiple regression analysis to examine differences in the salience of racial identity across racial groups and identify precollege socialization and college experiences associated with a heightened salience of racial identity for students. The study uses data from the pilot administration of the Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) survey, collected between December 2009 and May 2010. The sample includes 4,981 students from 14 two- and four-year institutions.

Results demonstrate that although there is a great deal of variability within each racial group, it is clear that specific groups who are often targets or face severe underrepresentation on campus spend more time thinking about their race than their White peers regardless of institution type. Moreover, Asian American and Multiracial students report relatively higher levels of discrimination and bias than other groups, demonstrating the importance of disaggregating data to understand how different racial groups experience the climate. In terms of college experiences, two new CIRP factors on the DLE reveal the importance of being exposed to issues of diversity and identity in and outside the classroom. Curriculum of Inclusion and Co-Curricular Diversity Activities are both positively associated with a heightened salience of racial identity for students at two- and four-year institutions, highlighting opportunities for faculty and staff to facilitate students’ identity development.

Understanding the salience of students’ various identities is an important first step in helping them work through different conflicts that may arise on campus. The DLE is now part of CIRP’s collection of student survey instruments, and items asking about the salience of nine different social identity groups are included in the Intergroup Relations module for institutions wishing to examine salience on their own campus. Registration is currently open, and the DLE can be administered until June 27, 2015.

1967: Love and Marriage: College Students' Views on Dating and Marriage

Posted by Abbie Bates on February 24th, 2015 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

The 1967 CIRP Freshman Survey featured items on dating patterns and expectations of marriage.

One question, only asked in 1967, inquired about students’ dating behavior while in high school. This emphasis on romantic relationships reflects the pop culture of the 1960s with the emergence of free love and the sexual liberation movement.
While attending high school, did you:
• Date one steady girlfriend (boyfriend)
• Have a series of steady girlfriends (boyfriends)
• Date a few different girls (boys) but none steadily
• Pretty much played the field
• Seldom or never date

Among these response choices, the highest percentage of freshmen indicated that they “date[d] a few different girls (boys) but none steadily” (23.6%) and the lowest percentage reported that they “seldom or never date[d]” (16.1%). However, it is important to note that responses to this question were relatively evenly distributed among the five options. Furthermore, there was virtually no difference between females and males in terms of the how they answered this question.

However, while the counterculture movement was challenging the conservative norms of the 1950s, there was still an interest in traditional notions of marriage. For many students, getting married during, or right out of, college was something that you just did. As the CIRP Freshman Survey tried to understand the values of incoming students, this inquiry on marriage was included in multiple years:

What is your best guess as to the chances that you will:
• Get married while in college
• Get married within a year after college

While few students expected to get married in college (7.6% of all freshmen), many more expected to tie the knot within a year after graduation, with 22.9% indicating that there was a “very good chance” of this happening. For women, this expectation was even higher, with 27.4% of females reporting that they expected to get married right after college, compared with 19.3% of men.

This emphasis on relationships on the survey in 1967 reveals the tension between conservative norms of the past and liberal notions of sexual freedom of the time. While only about 20% of all students had steady girl/boyfriends in high school, nearly 23% of them expected to marry just out of college. These issues reflect the changing values of the time and were captured through the experiences of freshmen in 1967.

Did you know…
17.3% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently identify at least 15 species of bird on sight.
33.2% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently name the starting players for a professional athletic team.
19.4% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently mix a dry martini.

1966: Inputs Matter: Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Astin Initiates the Freshman Survey

Posted by Abbie Bates on February 19th, 2015 in News, News Homepage | Comments Off

(Image is open access)

This year marks the 50th administration of the CIRP Freshman Survey. As we begin to administer the survey this spring and count down to the release of the 50th edition of The American Freshman, we will highlight some of the key findings and interesting survey nuggets for each of the Freshman Survey administrations. We will post these blogs weekly, so check back here regularly as we examine some of the more salient issues highlighted by the largest and longest running study of entering college students.

1966: Inputs Matter: Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Astin Initiates the Freshman Survey

The CIRP Freshman Survey was introduced in 1966 to better understand the students who were entering higher education institutions across the nation. The underlying premise was that, in order to understand the impact of college, it was first necessary to understand the “inputs” students were bringing with them. This still holds true for the Freshman Survey today and is a hallmark feature of the survey itself. However, some of the student “inputs” in 1966 look very different than the “inputs” of today. Some of the more unique items that were only asked in 1966 include:

Below is a general list of things that students sometimes do. Indicate which of these things you did during the past year in school.

• Acted in plays
• Participated on the speech or debate team
• Argued with other students
• Listened to New Orleans (Dixieland) jazz
• Drove a car
• Sang in a choir or glee club

In 1966, almost half of incoming students indicated that they listed to New Orleans (Dixieland) Jazz “frequently” or “occasionally” (47.6%) and a third of them acted in plays (32.9%) and/or sang in the choir or glee club (33.7%). While 12.5% of all students indicated that they had argued with other students “frequently” over the past year, men engaged in this behavior at higher rates than women (14.4% and 10.2% respectively).

These items reveal the types of activities and behaviors that were characteristic of entering freshmen in 1966. Since another goal of the Freshman Survey is to analyze trends over time, some of the items asked in 1966 have appeared on the survey every year since its inception:

Indicate the importance to you personally of:

• Helping others who are in difficulty
• Making a theoretical contribution to science (every year except 1973)
• Becoming accomplished in one of the performing arts (acting, dancing, etc.)
• Obtaining recognition from my colleagues for contributions to my special field
• Being very well-off financially

In 1966, 68.5% of all freshmen indicated that helping others who are in difficulty was “essential” or “very important” to them personally. However, more women (79.5%) indicated this was important than men (59.2%). Additionally, 43.8% of students indicated that it was “essential” or “very important” to be well-off financially, with more males (54.1%) than females (31.6%) marking this priority.

While the relative importance students place on these goals may have changed over time, the recurrence of these items represents the continuing relevance of these issues in the lives of students over the past 50 years.

Did you know…
• 37.7% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” or “occasionally” gambled with cards or dice during their last year in high school.
• 60.3% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” or “occasionally” made wisecracks in class during their last year in high school.
• 25% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” typed a homework assignment during their last year in high school.
• 42.5% of entering freshmen indicated that they “frequently” or “occasionally” had a blind date during their last year in high school.

Annual FYE ‐ Feb 7-10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas

Posted by Silvio Vallejos on February 2nd, 2015 in Conferences | Comments Off

Annual First-Year Experience (FYE) Conference February 7-10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.

Registration Is Now Open for the 50th Administration of the CIRP Freshman Survey

Posted by Kevin Eagan on January 26th, 2015 in News, News Homepage | Comments Off

In 1960, while working at the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), Dr. Alexander Astin understood the importance of accounting for student inputs. Namely, he recognized that elite institutions should not receive so much credit for the success of their alumni; instead, many of the students attending elite institutions arrived on campus equipped with the skills and resources for success. His early work in this area led to a subsequent national examination of entering student characteristics in 1961 at NMSC in which 248 colleges and universities and more than 120,000 students participated. NMSC and Astin later followed up this cohort in 1962 and 1965, allowing for longitudinal analyses of these college students.

Astin moved into a research director position at the American Council on Education in 1964, believing that the work he was doing at NMSC needed to get into the hands of college presidents. After a request for funding from private foundations came through, Astin and ACE began working on creating and piloting this input-focused instrument. In just under a year, Astin and his colleagues had developed a four-page, key-punched instrument and piloted it in the fall of 1965 with 61 colleges and universities participating.

What is now the CIRP (Cooperative Institutional Research Program) Freshman Survey officially launched in the fall of 1966. With support from private foundations, Astin and ACE administered the 1966 Freshman Survey to incoming students at 309 two- and four-year colleges and universities identified through a stratified random sampling strategy. Roughly 250,000 students participated in the inaugural CIRP Freshman Survey.

In 1973, Astin and his wife Helen accepted faculty positions at UCLA, and the CIRP Freshman Survey followed them out west. For more than four decades, UCLA has housed the largest and longest-running study of college students.

This year – 2015 – marks the 50th administration of the CIRP Freshman Survey. Quite a bit has changed since the inaugural national administration in 1966, but many questions remain. For example, we continue to ask about students’ degree aspirations, their concerns about financing their college education, and their confidence in their abilities across several dimensions. Likewise, for 50 consecutive years, we have asked some of the same life and career goal questions and many of the same expectations students have about college.

In five decades, the survey has grown substantially to cover the diverse set of experiences and skills students bring with them to college. We now ask about students’ pluralistic orientation – their ability to engage across difference and their openness to having their views challenged. As has been necessary in 50 years, the academic major and career choices on the survey has been refreshed to keep pace with changing opportunities in a dynamic labor market.

We have made several important changes and additions to the 2015 instrument. As students increasingly rely on multiple types of aid to finance their college education, we have added a bank of items focused on the types of grant aid students receive (e.g., military grants, need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships, Pell grants, work study). We have disaggregated “Asian/Asian American” into: East Asian (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese); Southeast Asian (e.g., Cambodian, Vietnamese, Hmong, Filipino); South Asian (e.g., Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese, Sri Lankan); and Other Asian.

The instrument now asks students to identify the sex of their parents and guardians before asking students to identify the education, career, and religion of each parent/guardian. For the first time in the history of the instrument, we also request that students identify their sexual orientation and gender identity on the survey.

Other changes include the addition of an item asking about students’ participation in a bridge program and providing the options of “Agnostic” and “Atheist” to the religious preference item.

In just over a year (in early 2016), we will release the 50th edition of the national norms from the CIRP Freshman Survey. As we begin counting down to that release date, please check back here weekly as we will soon begin our 50 in 50 blog series. For the 50 weeks leading up to the release of the 50th national norms report, we will review some of the key findings from each of our monographs, contextualizing the findings and some of the more peculiar survey items with the current events of the time.

Stay tuned as we announce additional plans for celebrating 50 years of the CIRP Freshman Survey.

Registration for the 50th CIRP Freshman Survey is available here.

2014 College Senior Survey (CSS) Research Brief and Infographic Release

Posted by Lesley McBain on December 15th, 2014 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

The 2014 College Senior Survey (CSS) research brief and infographic present findings from a nationally administered survey on students’ college experiences, future goals, and career plans; this iteration was administered to over 13,000 graduating students at 74 colleges and universities. The 2014 CSS brief focuses on how institutions support students’ personal and professional development as well as academic and intellectual growth.

Results highlight slightly improving job prospects for graduating students. Among 2014 college graduates planning to work full time, 41.4% had already secured an employment offer compared to 36.7% of those who graduated with the class of 2009. For students who had participated in an internship program during college, a higher percentage (48.1%) had already secured an employment offer.

Additionally, career services offices connect students with important information, resources and support that may aid their job search. Among graduating seniors who rated their institution’s career service office, nearly 60% felt satisfied with its resources and support. However, there were noticeable differences by major. For example, among business and engineering majors, approximately 64% indicated satisfaction with career resources and support compared to approximately half of English and Fine Arts majors.

But graduating seniors do not only seek job search support; a growing percentage also require personal support and counseling. In 2014, approximately one-third of seniors sought personal counseling in the past year, with significantly higher rates for those also reporting feeling depressed. Such responses reveal students’ need for personal and emotional support well beyond their introduction to college life.

The class of 2014 entered college with noticeably lower self-rated emotional health levels compared to previous entering classes. Among students who completed both the 2010 CIRP Freshman Survey and the 2014 CSS, those who began college reporting lower emotional health indicated lower levels of satisfaction with their overall college experience, felt less valued at the institution, and reported lower levels of belonging as college seniors.

Data not included in the CSS brief but available in the national dataset cover many other aspects of students’ college life. For example, 41% of students attended a racial/cultural awareness workshop while 48% played intramural sports since entering college. In addition, the complete dataset reveals differences between female and male students. For instance, 59% of females reported holding leadership positions in college compared to 62% of their male peers. When asked whether they had challenged a professor’s ideas in class, 6.5% of female students reported doing so frequently compared to 12.0% of male students; 48.4% of female students reported not doing so at all compared to 33.1% of male students. However, 73.5% of female students and 70.0% of male students reported frequently contributing to class discussions. Institutional data such as these provide campuses with greater insights into students’ involvement, satisfaction, and success.

For more results from the 2014 CSS, check out the research brief. (You can also see a full set of the national results here.) And don’t forget to register for the 2015 CSS Survey to better understand the college experiences and future plans of graduating seniors on your campus! The CSS survey can be administered on your campus through June 26th, 2015.

YFCY Brief with Results from the 2014 Survey is Released!

Posted by Jen Berdan Lozano on December 2nd, 2014 in News, News Homepage, Surveys | Comments Off

Findings from the 2014 Your First College Year (YFCY) Survey are discussed in our latest research brief; they are also highlighted in the recently released 2014 YFCY Infographic. This survey was administered to over 10,000 students this last spring at the end of their first year of college. Among the results are first-year students’ struggles with adjusting to college, communication with faculty, engagement with active and collaborative learning, civic awareness and engagement, and their early preparation for post-graduation.

The YFCY Survey measures multiples aspects of college adjustment and the results showed that time management was the most common hurdle for first-year students. Almost half (47%) of all students responded that they found managing their time either “very” or “somewhat” difficult; Latina/o students were the most likely to struggle, with 57% stating difficulties with managing their time. Most students (86%) stated that they have approached their professors for advice after class, and relatedly, understanding what their professors expect from them academically was the least of their troubles.

Mirroring our recent HERI Faculty Survey results where roughly half of faculty reported using online discussion boards in their classes, just over half (54%) of first-year students stated that they have posted on a course-related online discussion board. In-person dialogues continue to be the norm however with almost all students reportedly engaging in in-class discussions (96%) and talking about their course materials with other students outside of class (96%).

By linking the 2014 YFCY responses to the 2013 CIRP Freshman Survey responses we can measure students’ growth and change during their first year of college. These results highlight gains in students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, over half of the students who entered college reporting their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as “average” now rate them as “somewhat strong” or a “major strength.” Continued development of these skills throughout college is important as both graduates and employers consider them essential on the job market.

Other results from the 2014 YFCY Survey not discussed in the brief include first-year students’ satisfaction with campus services and community. Overall, first-year students report being satisfied with their college experience. More than three quarters (78%) are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their overall academic experience. Specifically, students expressed satisfaction with their general education and core curriculum classes (72%), class size (74%), quality of instruction (75%), and academic advising (67%). Additionally, almost two-thirds (65%) were satisfied with the sense of community among students on campus. And with financial aid continuing to play a major role for many college students, the YFCY results showed that almost half of students (44%) utilized financial aid advising on campus. However, among these students, less than two-thirds (62%) reported being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experience in the financial aid office on their campus, evidencing a greater need for support for students with financial needs on campus.

For more results from the 2014 YFCY, check out the research brief. (You can also see a full set of the national results here.)And don’t forget to register for the 2015 YFCY Survey to understand the experiences and adjustment of first-year students on your campus! YFCY survey can be administered on your campus between March 1st and June 12th, 2015.

CIRP-Related Presentations at ASHE

Posted by Kevin Eagan on November 20th, 2014 in News, News Homepage, Research, Surveys | Comments Off

If you’re attending the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in Washington DC over the next few days, you might want to check out one or more of the following sessions that highlight findings from CIRP data:

  • Linda Sax and her team present work funded by the National Science Foundation that focuses on gender issues in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This particular presentation highlights the changing salience of gender in understanding students’ interest in pursuing engineering majors using four decades (1971-2011) of CIRP Freshman Survey data. (Thursday, November 20, 12:45 p.m. – 2 p.m., Georgetown East).

  • HERI Director Sylvia Hurtado, CIRP Director Kevin Eagan, and HERI Graduate Student Researcher Bryce Hughes report findings from a study focused on introductory STEM classrooms. Using data collected from 79 classrooms at 15 different campuses, the study examines the student and faculty factors that contribute to a greater sense of a competitive dynamic among students in introductory STEM courses. (Thursday, November 20, 2:15-3 p.m., Lincoln East).

  • Christos Korgan – a current graduate student in UCLA’s higher education and organizational change (HEOC) program – and Nathan Durdella, an alumni of the HEOC program) highlight findings from the 2010-11 HERI Faculty Survey. Their study examines the connection between student-faculty interaction and commitment to developing habits of mind for lifelong learning among part-time faculty. (Thursday, November 20, 2:15-3 p.m., Jefferson West).

  • UCLA HEOC alumna Marcia Fuentes presents her dissertation work that analyzed CIRP Freshman Survey and College Senior Survey data. The study focuses on issues pertaining to campus climate and connects those concerns with the broad policy discussions pertaining to affirmative action. (Thursday, November 20, 3:45-5 p.m., Monroe).

  • Nick Bowman joins HEOC alumnae Julie Park and Nida Denson in a presentation that uses CIRP Freshman Survey, College Senior Survey, and a six-year-post-college survey administered by CIRP in 2004 to understand college graduates’ civic outcomes. (Friday, November 21, 1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Georgetown East).

This flyer has several other studies being presented at ASHE that analyze CIRP data. And don’t forget to join HERI and the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the UCLA Reception – Friday, November 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Morgan Room.

2015 Your First College Year Survey Registration is Open, Paper is Back, and the 2014 YFCY Infographic is Released!

Posted by Ellen Stolzenberg on November 6th, 2014 in News, News Homepage, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Registration for the 2015 Your First College Year Survey (YFCY) is officially open! You can register now for the YFCY here and administer the survey any time between March 1 and June 12, 2015. We are happy to report that the paper administration is back! Join us in documenting the importance of the first year of college while getting valuable information about your students. If you click the registration link, you will also notice the first phase (registration and ordering) of our new portal for the follow-up surveys. Campus representatives will use this portal to register for the survey, track survey responses, download preliminary data, and retrieve final reports.

I wanted to highlight a few important changes to the 2015 YFCY. After each survey administration, we ask campus representatives about items they’d like to see on future instruments and we incorporate this feedback into the survey redesign process whenever possible. For the first time in its history, the YFCY includes items related to sexual orientation and gender identity – using the same items that have been on the Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) Survey for the past several administrations. Additionally, we have provided a more granular approach to asking about students’ race/ethnicity; we now provide four categories for Asian students: East Asian (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese); Southeast Asian (e.g., Cambodian, Vietnamese, Hmong, Filipino); South Asian (e.g., Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese, Sri Lankan); and Other Asian. We also added a question asking respondents whether they identify as multiracial, similar to the DLE.

In addition, we decided to update the response options for the financial aid question to reflect the steady increase in college costs. In prior years, “$10,000 or more” was the highest option students could select for each of the different types of financial support (loans, family resources, etc.) used to cover educational expenses. The new response options provide campuses the opportunity to continue to trend the data (by combining different categories) while updating the total dollar amounts to reflect the following categories: None; $1-2,999; $3,000-5,999; $6,000-9,999; $10,000-$14,999; and $15,000+.

Other modifications include changing the wording for the self-rated abilities question and response options to incorporate students’ views on the role the institution has played in their abilities. The question in previous years read: “Think about your current abilities and tell us how strong or weak you believe you are in each of the following areas” and it now reads “This institution has contributed to my…” The response options were updated to reflect students’ agreement or disagreement with this statement (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree). Finally, in keeping with the Association of American Colleges & Universities Essential Learning Outcomes, “General Knowledge” within this question was updated to “Intellectual and practical skills (including inquiry and analysis, critical thinking, and information literacy).”

The 2014 YFCY “A Year of Change” infographic is now available! The poster highlights some of our findings from the 2014 YFCY. The infographic provides an understanding of the first-year mindset, including how the adjustment to college affects first-year students. For institutions participating in the YFCY survey, we also provide a customizable version of the infographic, allowing them to easily compare their own data to the national results.

Is your institution currently posting findings from any of the CIRP surveys on your website? We’d love to see these pages! Please share your link by emailing me at

If you would like to share information on your website but aren’t exactly sure what to include, I’d be happy to help. You can reach me directly at 310.825.6991 or the email address above.

Same-Sex Marriage Support Nearly Universal Among Entering College Students

Posted by Kevin Eagan on October 27th, 2014 in Conferences, News, News Homepage | Comments Off

This blog is cross-posted at The Huffington Post:

The national landscape for marriage equality has changed considerably in the past month. On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals on five different cases challenging lower courts’ rulings that found same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. The decision paved the way for same-sex marriage in five states immediately (Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana). Just a few days later, Idaho and Nevada joined the growing number of states allowing same-sex marriage. On Oct. 17, same-sex marriage bans in Alaska and Arizona fell with Wyoming following suit just days later.

Ted Olson, one of the lawyers in the landmark “Proposition 8″ Supreme Court decision (Hollingsworth v. Perry), declared today that the “point of no return” on gay marriage has now passed. Indeed, it seems clear that the U.S. Supreme Court decision is signaling to the lower courts that it will not take up the issue of same-sex marriage any time soon, particularly if the lower courts continue striking down state marriage bans for same-sex couples.

As these state bans continue to fall, the federal government has announced that it would immediately begin recognizing same-sex marriages in all of 33 states. This decision follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 (United States v. Windsor), which held that denying benefits to married same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

It is hard to believe that Congress enacted DOMA less than two decades ago. Right after that law went into effect, the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey at UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute began asking incoming freshmen their views on same-sex marriage. Since CIRP first started asking the question in 1997, a majority of incoming college students have agreed that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry; however, it is remarkable how strongly incoming students now endorse this position. The CIRP Freshman Survey last asked this question in 2012, and three-quarters of first-time, full-time students (75.1 percent) agreed that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, and the data suggest that nearly all (91.1 percent) of students who identify as “liberal” or “far left” hold this view.


Support of same-sex marriage among “conservative” and “far right” students has increased more than 20 percentage points since the question first appeared on the CIRP Freshman Survey. A near majority (46.4 percent) of students who identify their political ideology as “conservative” or “far right” now agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry.

The largest gains in support of same-sex marriage have been among incoming students who identify their political ideology as “middle-of-the-road.” In 1997, a bare majority (51.5 percent) believed same-sex couples should be permitted to marry. By 2008, more than two-thirds (67.7 percent) felt similarly, and that figure jumped another 10 percentages points by 2012 with 78.9 percent of “middle-of-the-road” students supporting same-sex marriage.

Today’s college students do not just support same-sex marriage; they also support allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt. In 2013, 83.3 percent of all first-time, full-time college students agreed that gays and lesbians should have the legal right to adopt children.

Most individuals are more than mere single-issue voters, but given these numbers, it is interesting that some politicians continue to focus so heavily on social issues like same-sex marriage. The recent spate of court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage in the past two years, and particularly in the past four weeks, has caught up with public opinion. The political views of today’s college students increasingly suggest growing divide with the “culture wars” being waged by social conservatives. Candidates running for political office who continue to emphasize social questions while doing everything in their power to impede progress on an issue such as gay marriage risk alienating this large bloc of potential voters.

The question regarding support of same-sex marriage appeared again on the 2014 CIRP Freshman Survey, and we expect to see even greater support for the issue. The 2015 Freshman Survey likely will be the last time the item appears, as the data make clear that support for same-sex marriage is nearly universal among entering college students.