20-29 year olds with no college experience are half as likely to volunteer as those in the same age group who do attend college, according to a report by CIRCLE and jointly released with the National Conference on Citizenship.

Conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College and released jointly with the National Conference on Citizenship, the report found that 25 percent of young adults who have attended college volunteered in 2007 while only 11 percent of those with no college experience volunteered. This gap has remained constant since 2002.

Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE, said young people without college experience are underutilized and underestimated: “Studies show all young people want to get involved in their communities, and lack of college experience should not be the deciding factor,” Levine said. “Schools, communities and government need to create more opportunities for all young people, not just the ones with a college education. Volunteering and participation in civic life is an important part of society, and no one should be excluded from an opportunity to do so.”

This activism gap between those youth attending college and non-college youth is something that’s been around for a while, and as you can see, it continues to exist. While colleges should be doing all they can to develop civic skills in their students, there should also be more focus on those not in college.

Some more information:

Eight in 10 young volunteers became involved by approaching the organization or being asked to become involved. Youth with college experience were more likely to have started volunteering through a pre-existing connection with that organization (33 percent) compared with 21 percent of non-college youth. Of those who started volunteering in some other way, youth without college experience were more likely to have started volunteering through a relative than college youth.

When asked for which type of organization they volunteered, “religious” organizations were the top choice for young people regardless of college experience. Most spend their time mentoring youth and teaching/tutoring, although young people with college experience were slightly more likely to provide professional or management assistance including serving on a board or committee.

Check out CIRCLE’s fact sheet from the release here.