At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade leading nearly half of states to roll back abortion rights.

For some young adults who are thinking about where they want to attend college, not having the guaranteed right to an abortion in some states may have them reconsidering where they apply.

In July, Intelligent.com surveyed incoming high school juniors and seniors (aged 16-18) who currently plan on attending a 4-year college or university to learn more about how abortion bans are factoring into their decision about where to go to college.

Key takeaways:

  • 26% of prospective college students will only consider attending college in a state where abortion is legal
    • More women than men say they will only attend a college in a state where abortion is legal (31% vs. 20%)
  • Top reasons for prospective students not wanting to attend college in a state where abortion is illegal are a belief in bodily autonomy and a desire for abortion access
  • 66% of prospective students will consider attending college in any state; the top reason is not wanting to limit their choices
  • 53% of prospective college students identify as pro-choice
    • 58% of women vs. 46% of men identify as pro-choice

One-quarter of prospective students won’t attend college in state that bans abortion

When asked if abortion laws come into play when deciding where to go to college, 26% of prospective college students say they will only consider attending college in a state where abortion is legal.

More women than men will not consider attending college in a state where abortion is illegal (31% vs. 20%). Additionally, more women than men identify as pro-choice (58 vs. 46%).

The most common reasons for prospective students not wanting to attend college in a state without abortion access are a belief in bodily autonomy (60%) and the desire to have the option to get an abortion if they want one (57%).

Students also don’t want to economically support a state that bans abortion (53%) and want to ensure their education won’t be interpreted by unwanted pregnancy (38%).

Additionally, 25% of prospective students who won’t consider attending school in a state that bans abortion say they currently live in a state where abortion is legal, and regardless of their personal beliefs, they won’t go out-of-state for financial or personal reasons.

Many prospective college students don’t want to limit their choices

Two-thirds (66%) of prospective college students say abortion laws won’t affect their decision about where to attend school.

For most, this is because they don’t want to limit their choices (66%). Additionally, students selected that they don’t care about state abortion laws (34%), believe abortion laws may change before college enrollment (29%), or have the resources to travel for an abortion (11%).

8% of prospective college students will only attend school in a state with abortion ban

A number of high school juniors and seniors who are planning to go to college are only considering schools in states with abortions bans. But for many this is because of where they currently live. Twenty-five percent live in a state where abortion is or will be illegal, and they won’t attend an out-of-state college for financial or personal reasons, regardless of their stance on reproductive rights.

The plurality of students who won’t consider schools in states that have legal abortion say they or their partner would not get an abortion (44%). Additionally, 38% support abortion bans and would be proud to attend college in a state that bans abortion, 23% don’t want to economically support a state where abortion is legal, and 16% say they have the resources to travel out-of-state if they do need an abortion,

Although students not wanting to attend college in states with different political leanings isn’t new, abortion bans may have more students reconsidering where to apply and attend college.

Methodology

All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by Intelligent.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,002 Americans ages 16-18 were surveyed.

Appropriate respondents were found via a screening question. To take the survey respondents had to answer that in the Fall of 2022 they will be a high school junior or senior who plans on attending a 4-year college or university.

This survey was conducted on July 8, 2022. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities. For full survey data, please email Content Marketing Manager Julia Morrissey at [email protected]