There are considerable bodies of research addressing students’ political news consumption and factors that influence student success and retention. However, there is a dearth of research addressing the relationship between these variables. Guided by Cultivation Theory and Sense of Belonging research, the present study sought to explore the relationship of student news consumption with term-to-term persistence and GPA in community colleges, while including political discussions in the classroom as a variable. Data were collected via a self-report online survey. The sample comprised 78 students who were members of their community college speech and debate (forensics) team. Spearman correlations identified significant relationships among variables. Blocked multiple regression determined the predictive effect of input and environmental variables on GPA and term-to-term persistence. ANOVA analyses compared the mean scores of perceived sense of belonging based on gender identity, racial identity, and political orientation. Results indicated political discussions in the classroom positively correlated with persistence. Sense of belonging positively correlated with GPA and persistence. Number of news sources accessed positively correlated with persistence. Political news consumption behaviors were positively correlated with sense of belonging. Lawmakers and education practitioners can collaborate to mandate courses that invite political discussions in the classroom. Professional learning opportunities on managing political discussions are necessary, as well as programming for students to increase perceived sense of belonging. Institutions are encouraged to provide media literacy curriculum and conduct curriculum audits for culturally-relevant pedagogy. Future research can benefit from disaggregating political news consumption based on content and reliability.