rate of first year college students who performed volunteer service

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This graph is based on data from the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) American Freshman survey. I don’t think I have seen the trend presented in one place and continuing until 2015, so I offer the graph for public consumption. The trend is consistent with what we know about high school civics. Service programs became much more popular after the 1980s, as new initiatives, such as the federal Learn & Serve America grants, came online. Rates of volunteering have plateaued since ca. 2010, but at high levels. Service is pretty much expected of today’s prospective college students. However, volunteering is strongly correlated with socioeconomic advantage. People of the same age as these admitted freshman who are not going to college volunteer at much lower rates.

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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