Study: Religious attendance declines in college years

UNDATED (AP) - A new study finds that college students' attendance at religious services drops sharply between their freshman and junior years, although their beliefs remain largelyunchanged.

The survey by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute found that the percentage who never attend religious services nearly doubles from the time they enter college until their junior year. Researchers say that's likely attributable to separation from families with whom they'd worshipped at home.

The study of more than 15,000 students who entered 136 colleges
in 2004 also found that they became more tolerant of legal abortion
and gay marriage by their junior year.

The reason, according to researchers, isn't indoctrination by faculty but rather the influence of fellow students. And at most colleges, liberal peer groups are more common than conservative ones.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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