Accessibility links

Breaking News

Student Union

Gender Gap Seen in US Youth Vote

Young people are joining the efforts to deliver free food and drink to voters waiting in long lines at the polls, Oct. 29, 2020 in Charlotte, N.C.

Since the 2016 presidential election, more than 15 million people have turned 18, making young people a critical voter bloc for the 2020 presidential elections this November.

Like their elders, the youth vote is not a monolith or a unified voting bloc that aligns on all issues and demographics. Gender, like race, will impact youth voting in its own way.

Among millennial voters, born between 1981-1996, women were more likely to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, according to the Pew Research Center.

Pew reported that 60% of millennial women associated with the Democratic Party while 31% associated with the Republican, or GOP. For millennial men, the gap was much smaller, with 48% associating with the Democratic Party and 44% associating with the GOP.

“Gender issues have been a big consideration for me, specifically just in regard to communicating with people of another gender,” said Christian Lohrenz, a senior at Minnesota State University at Mankato.

“LGBTQ rights, equality, those are big deal to me,” Lohrenz said. “You look at the ban on transgender people being in the military, those are certainly things that I disagreed with and I was cognizant of when I was picking my candidate.”

Lohrenz said he will be voting for Biden because he agrees with the ideas the Biden campaign put forth for education, criminal justice reform, and climate change.

For young women ages 18-29, 60% polled say they intend to vote for Joe Biden, according to data from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

CIRCLE’s 2020 pre-election youth poll also shows that young women of color support Joe Biden, with 77% of young Asian women, 71% of young Black women and 61% of young Latinas intending to vote for Biden.

However, this does not mean they approve of the Democratic presidential nominee, as the polling asks. Only 30% of young women of color approve or strongly approve of Biden.

On the other hand, 81% of young women disapprove of President Donald Trump. Among young women of color, the percentage is higher, with 94% of young Asian women, 88% of young Latinas, and 85% of young Black women.

“I’m voting for Joe Biden because I don’t agree with Trump at all with some of his policies and the way he treats people,” said Jenna Peterson, a junior at Minnesota State University at Mankato. “Is Biden perfect? No. But he is the better option, and he wants to fight for the policies that I believe in such as reproductive health, women’s rights and climate change.”

Kaylee Corvin, a sophomore at the University of Virginia, says that while she doesn’t always agree with Trump as a person, she will be voting for him because he aligns best with her political views.

“Being able to defend yourself with a firearm: I think that this goes down to really be able to protect yourself and stand up for yourself than rely on the government. I think that’s a huge thing for women empowerment,” she said.

“For reproductive issues, I stand a bit more on the pro-life side. But it’s definitely more pro-birth control, pro-access to sexual education, and better access to adoption and funding programs to support mothers,” Corvin added.

Grace Leto, a junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, said she, too, favors the Trump/Pence ticket.

“I voted for [Trump] because I strongly believe that he is the best candidate. He has strengthened our economy so much these past four years, is bold in his actions, and treasures/respects the mission of the military,” she said.

“Trump is not the best with words. He has said some comments before that are pretty sexist and I really don’t know what he has done in depth for women’s rights. I do know the recent appointment of the new Supreme Court justice is female, and he especially wanted to keep a woman in the Supreme Court,” Leto said.

The recent confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court, eight days before the presidential elections, has also highlighted gender issues in the minds of many young voters.

“With Amy Coney Barrett becoming the new Supreme Court Justice, I’m definitely concerned about my health care and my rights. She’s had a history of not being for abortion and the Affordable Care Act, and she’s Trump-appointed,” said Shruti Nallappa, a master’s student at George Washington University. Nallappa said she will vote for Joe Biden.

Barrett is on record as disagreeing with abortion, as well as the Affordable Care Act. But some view it as a success for women’s representation.

“Honestly, I’m a little confused from where all the hate comes from. A lot of times people talk about empowering women and this is an example of an extremely successful, strong woman,” said Trevor McDowell, a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

McDowell says he will vote for Trump because of his strong support of the Second Amendment, Trump’s economic policies, and because he believes there is a “much deeper corruption” in career politicians.

Overall, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has more support from women than men with 56% of women and 50% of men leaning Biden, according to the Pew Research Center. President Trump sees more support from men than women with 48% of men and 42% of women supporting Trump or leaning Trump.

See all News Updates of the Day

Know the Details, and Risks, of Student Loans

FILE - US dollars.

After School Africa takes a look at student loans and international students.

"Normally, many people do not like the idea of loans, and it is not the first option in the minds of many people," the article notes. "However, student loans can be the only option for some students who want to actualize their goals."

Read about the various types of student loans, and their potential risks, here. (August 2023)

Want an MBA from a US School? Here’s How One Man Made It from Indonesia to Wharton

FILE - People walk in and out of The Wharton School building on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia, March 20, 2016.

A student from Indonesia writes about his path to studying for an MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Among his suggestions: apply to a range of schools and craft a compelling personal essay. Read more here. (August 2023)

Academic Integrity in the US: What International Students Need to Know

FILE - Students walk on the Stanford University campus, March 14, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif.

International students have many things to learn about the U.S. when they arrive on American campuses. U.S. News & World Report delves into a less-common topic: academic integrity.

The magazine explores basic expectations at many U.S. schools, including how to use quotes and citations in papers, how to avoid plagiarism and navigating artificial intelligence pitfalls.

Read the full story here. (August 2023)

Chinese Interest Grows for US Study Tours

FILE - Students line up for their first day of China's national college entrance examinations, known as the gaokao, in Beijing, June 7, 2023.

A surge in inquiries from China for overseas study tours to the U.S. suggests that parents of children from primary to high school are willing to pay the big money so their offspring can have an American classroom experience during their summer vacations.

Yvonne Shi, director of Offer Education Consulting in El Monte, California, said study tours offer children authentic American courses, the experience of living with American families or in school dormitories, a variety of extracurricular activities, English classes and visits to schools where they could enroll full time.

Shi told VOA Mandarin that this year, despite the simmering tension between Beijing and Washington, "the number of inquiries we got has increased exponentially compared with that during the pandemic."

She added, "We have also noticed that the age of the children studying abroad is getting younger. In the past, the main market for study tours was in high schools, and in recent years, it has gone into junior high schools and even elementary schools."

Shi and others who help Chinese parents to plan overseas study tours said most of the children are sent to study abroad so that they can experience the education methods and systems in the U.S. to broaden their horizons. Some parents hope the summer experience will serve as the first step to future full-time studies in the U.S.

For other parents, the consultants said, summer tours that focus on athletics are a bigger draw than academics. The athletic programs are designed to expose children to different training techniques than they might have in China and improve their skills.

The tours offer opportunities to play with local sports teams at professional venues. But as is true of the academic tours, the athletic tours usually include visits to a school where the children could enroll full time.

FILE - A group of students listen to their tour guide at the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Emperor Qin Shihuang in Xi'an in northwestern China's Shaanxi Province, July 16, 2023.
FILE - A group of students listen to their tour guide at the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Emperor Qin Shihuang in Xi'an in northwestern China's Shaanxi Province, July 16, 2023.

Unless the children enroll in courses for credit, which would require a student visa, the children come to the U.S. on tourist visas, according to the consultants, and return from both types of tours with improved English language skills.

Faith Li is a mother from Hangzhou, in China’s Zhejiang Province. She decided to send her son, Caleb Lu, to an American high school after he participated in a summer program at San Gabriel Christian School in San Gabriel, California, in 2016.

Today, the school’s website offers information for international students who want to enroll fulltime with a tuition of $24,750 plus fees as, well as information about the 2024 summer program.

"I [was] really not interested in the education methods in China," Li told VOA Mandarin. "When my son was a child, he went to an elementary school with a good reputation. The class was overcrowded, with more than 40 students in one class, and we had to give the teachers red envelopes with money on various holidays.

"Sometimes, at parent-teacher meetings, the teachers were not direct with what they meant, and you would have to guess what they really wanted to say. … The school's education method was not diverse, just like cram-feeding. They only evaluate students with test scores," she said.

Now, Lu is enrolled at Pacific Union College, a private liberal arts college in Angwin, California. He’s pursuing a double major in pharmacology and business at the school, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He wants to pursue a doctorate in pharmacology from nearby Loma Linda University, which is affiliated with the same Christian group.

Li said, "We made a plan for him to study in the U.S. in 2016. Because only private schools in the U.S. could issue F1 visas, we applied for a private high school."

After Pacific Union College accepted Lu, Li said she and her husband moved to the U.S., where the family attends church every week.

Lu said that the education methods and learning environments in the U.S. are very different from what he experienced in Hangzhou, where he attended primary school before coming to the United States to attend high school and college.

"In China, when teachers teach, there is only one correct answer, which is what the teachers tell you,” he told VOA Mandarin.

"In the U.S., we can have free discussions," he said. "Usually, my classmates and I will read articles together and have group discussions, and everyone will have the right to speak.

"Even when the teachers are teaching, we can ask questions, and the teachers encourage us to actively participate in class discussions to find answers," Lu said.

Congress Could Stall a Landmark Research Funding Bill

The Capitol dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 30, 2023. (Photo by Diaa Bekheet)

The CHIPS and Science Act was signed into law a year ago and promised billions of dollars in funding for science at U.S. colleges and universities. However, Congress is already falling short of the funding targets called for by the legislation, instead focusing on investments in America’s semiconductor industry.

Katherine Knott explains the situation for Inside Higher Ed. (August 2023)

Load more