National College Student COVID-19 Survey Finds Financial Concerns Outpace Health Worries - Scholarship America

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National College Student COVID-19 Survey Finds Financial Concerns Outpace Health Worries

By Scholarship America

As colleges focus on student health and safety concerns due to COVID-19, college students are most worried about their personal finances, according to a national student survey conducted by Scholarship America, the nation’s largest provider of private college scholarships.

Among the findings:

  • 64% of student respondents said paying for school is one of their top concerns, while 42% of respondents listed contracting the virus as a top concern
  • 77% said the pandemic has reduced their ability to earn income needed for their education
  • 64% said the pandemic has increased their need for financial aid
  • 30% of students surveyed said they have lost a job needed to help pay for college due to COVID-19, and 28% said a parent has lost a job

“As advocates for student success, we’re deeply concerned about these findings,” said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America. “College affordability has long been a major challenge for many students and their families; COVID-19 is making that problem even worse. This is hitting students hard, especially low-income students. Students are dealing with a great deal of uncertainty as they try to plan for the fall semester.”

More than a thousand students responded to the email survey. Their opinions were split about their preferred way for schools to reopen:

  • 30% say they prefer only online classes
  • 32% prefer a mix of online and in-person
  • 23% prefer all in-person classes

Many students indicated that if campuses reopen, they will opt out.

  • 14% said they would not attend in-person classes
  • 4% said they are not planning on enrolling in the fall because of COVID-19 – a small percentage, but a potentially big impact on schools who are worried about reduced enrollments

The survey was conducted from July 21-27, and included students currently enrolled in college or planning to enroll this fall.

About Scholarship America®

Scholarship America is a nonprofit organization that helps students fulfill their college dreams. Since 1958, Scholarship America, the largest private scholarship provider in the U.S., has distributed $4.3 billion to more than 2.6 million students. The organization works with partners to lower barriers to a college education and give students the support needed to succeed. Learn more at