MACON – Mercer University is ranked No. 14 among Washington Monthly’s 2021 America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting.

Mercer’s place in the top 7% of 205 ranked institutions demonstrates the commitment the University has made to promote civic engagement among its student body, encouraging students to vote and actively participate in community decisions.

“Empowering our students to vote is an invaluable investment in their lifelong commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement,” said Lauren Shinholster, coordinator for community engagement at Mercer. “It is such a great honor for Mercer to be recognized.”

Mercer – the top Georgia institution in the ranking – was given special distinction for having a voter registration rate above 85%, a feat achieved by only 15 other institutions.

In order to be ranked, schools were required to meet multiple criteria, including submitting action plans to the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for 2018 and 2020 and signing up to receive data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), which calculates college-specific registration and voting rates. Since information for the 2020 election is not yet available, schools were required to have made 2016 and 2018 NSLVE data available to the public.

Mercer’s highly decorated efforts to mobilize student voters also include recognition by organizations such as SoCon Votes and the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.

SoCon Votes was launched in 2016 as the first NCAA Division I conference championship for voter participation. Mercer won the award for highest student voter participation in the inaugural competition and swept both awards for highest student voter participation and most improved student voter participation in 2018.

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. Mercer was honored in November 2019 with the Best in Class: Medium, Private, 4-Year Campus Action Plan Award and the Platinum Seal for its efforts in student voter engagement during the 2018 midterm election.

America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting is part of Washington Monthly’s annual College Guide and Rankings, which rates colleges and universities on their contributions to social mobility, research and public service, providing a first-of-its-kind list of the schools doing the most to turn students into citizens.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​