SOURCE: U.S. Public Service Academy

May 12, 2008 10:30 ET

New National Poll Shows That Millennials Support U.S. Public Service Academy by 7:1 Margin

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - May 12, 2008) - A new nationwide poll released today reveals that young people aged 18-29 overwhelmingly support the initiative to build a U.S. Public Service Academy. By an 88%-12% margin, these Millennials want Congress to build a civilian counterpart to the military service academies.

"The results are clear," says Chris Myers Asch, a leader of the Public Service Academy initiative. "Young people want more opportunities to serve our country, and they believe we need a flagship institution that will nurture future civilian leaders the way the military academies develop future military leaders."

Social Sphere Strategies, a Cambridge-based firm headed by John Della Volpe of Harvard University's Institute of Politics, conducted the Internet poll between April 3rd and April 8th, 2008. The poll targeted 800 college-bound high school students, college students, and recent college graduates. It assessed their opinions of public service in general and the U.S. Public Service Academy initiative in particular. The Academy commissioned the poll with support from the McCormick Tribune Foundation and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation.

The poll found that Millennials believe that our nation's leaders -- private sector, public sector, and political -- are not doing enough to encourage young people to enter public service. Millennials indicated that they would be more likely to vote for someone if they support public service programs for young people -- and they would be more likely to engage in service if it was more of a priority for our government.

The survey found that support for the U.S. Public Service Academy among Millennials is widespread and bipartisan. More than half (57%) of all Millennials responded that they would have considered applying to the Academy had it been an option when they were applying for college, with 19% saying that they would "very likely" have considered applying. Those most likely to consider applying include: men (63%), Southerners (63%), African Americans (64%), Latinos (68%), and Asian Americans (70%). Democrats (58%) and Republicans (56%) were equally interested in applying to the Academy.

Support for the Academy remains strong even in the face of counter-arguments. After being told ten negative arguments against the Academy idea, Millennials still supported the Academy by a 77%-23% margin.

The Public Service Academy would be a federally subsidized college modeled on the military service academies. More than 5,000 students would get a free undergraduate education in return for a commitment to serve for five years in civilian public service following graduation. Legislation to create the Public Service Academy was introduced in March 2007 by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) in the Senate (S. 960) and Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1671). The bill currently has 19 Senate co-sponsors and 96 House co-sponsors.

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