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One in Three Students Say They Have Experienced Bias on Campus

Ten percent of students report witnessing bias against others based on religion or political identity

May 13, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC – May 13, 2024 – A new survey from education company EAB shows one in three students said they have felt targeted, criticized, or excluded based on their identity. The students who reported the highest levels of targeting or exclusion include non-binary students (51 percent), Black students (34 percent), and women (33 percent).

EAB’s “2024 First-Year Experience Survey” also asked students whether they have witnessed prejudice against other students. More than one-third (36 percent) reported seeing others targeted, criticized, or excluded. Targeting based on race or ethnicity was the most common type of bias students saw on campus, cited by more than 13 percent of students. Ten percent of students witnessed bias based on religion or political identity. Students were 19 percent more likely to witness bias based on religious affiliation than in 2022.

“EAB’s student survey showed troubling rates of bias and exclusion, even before the recent turmoil on college campuses,” said Michael Koppenheffer, EAB’s Vice President of Enroll360 Marketing and Analytics. “We’ve seen growing evidence that today’s students are choosing colleges based on whether they feel like they’ll be supported and safe, and university leaders should keep that in mind as they try to manage student activism this spring.”

Despite the survey’s findings on bias and harassment, 84 percent of students surveyed say they are satisfied with their college experience. Still, the survey shows significant variation in satisfaction across race and ethnicity. Eighty-six percent of white students said they were satisfied versus 79 percent of Black students.

The drivers of college satisfaction also differ among demographic groups. Thirty-five percent of white students cited “belonging” as a source of college satisfaction, compared to 30 percent or less for students of color. Black students were more likely than white students (25 percent versus 19 percent) to cite student support services such as career services and financial aid counseling as significant drivers of satisfaction.

“Colleges need to understand the factors that influence student satisfaction and how those factors vary by race, ethnicity, and income,” Koppenheffer continued. “Increased investment in student support services could go a long way toward addressing some of the disparities in the college experience.”

About the Survey

EAB’s survey was conducted between February 8 and March 4, 2024, and included responses from 12,654 students who graduated from high school in 2023. The survey asked graduates about their preferred communication sources, application behaviors, satisfaction with their college experience, and what factors led some to decide not to enroll. For more details on the survey results, please download the report here.

About EAB

At EAB, our mission is to make education smarter and our communities stronger. We work with more than 2,600 institutions to drive transformative change through data-driven insights and best-in-class capabilities. From kindergarten to college to career, EAB partners with leaders and practitioners to accelerate progress and drive results across enrollment, student success, institutional strategy, data analytics, and advancement. We work with each partner differently, tailoring our portfolio of research, technology, and marketing and enrollment solutions to meet the unique needs of every leadership team, as well as the students and employees they serve. Learn more at