National Survey Finds Students Eager to Return; Still Facing Financial Challenges
By Claire Berge Schmidt
COVID-19 impacting student health concerns and finances: Scholarship America
With college classes about to resume, paying for their education is a top concern for far more students than the personal danger posed by COVID-19. But COVID is still the cause of those financial concerns. That’s according to a national student survey conducted by Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest provider of private scholarships for college students.
Among the findings:
- 72% of students who responded said paying for tuition and fees is one of their top concerns, while 31% listed the impact of COVID-19 on their studies and 25% listed contracting the virus as a top concern.
- 65% said the pandemic has increased their need for financial aid.
- 40% said COVID-19 has dramatically reduced income needed to help pay for their education.
- 27% reported that they lost a job due to COVID-19 and 25% said that one or more of their parents/guardians lost their job.
- 18% of students who responded said they are no longer able to pay for their food needs.
- 13% stated they are no longer able to pay their rent or mortgage.
“These are troubling findings,” said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America. “Even as some of the uncertainties posed by COVID-19 appear to be easing, the financial impact is not. Students and families continue to struggle to cover the cost of higher education and the pandemic has made matters worse. However, despite all of these challenges, students are persevering to keep their education on track.”
More than 500 students responded to the email survey, and while 83% say they plan to re-enroll in classes this fall, only a third (33%) would like those classes to be exclusively in person.
- 34% prefer a hybrid of online and in-person.
- 23% would like to be able to choose between participating in-person or online.
Nearly three-quarters of students (73%) say they plan to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when classes resume. More than 13% do not plan to be vaccinated, while just under 13% are unsure. This may change based on requirements added by some colleges and local and state governments.
The survey was conducted from July 15 – August 3, and included students currently enrolled in college or planning to enroll this fall. This is the second straight year that Scholarship America conducted the student survey.
About Scholarship America®
Scholarship America is a non-profit organization that helps students fulfill their college dreams. Since 1958, Scholarship America has distributed $4.5 billion to more than 2.8 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 scholarshipamerica.org.