SERU Consortium, University of California - Berkeley and University of Minnesota.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant hardships for students from low-income, poor, and working-class backgrounds enrolled at large, public research universities, according to the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium survey of 30,697 undergraduate students conducted May through July 2020 at nine universities. In the survey, 7% of respondents (n = 2,112) identified as low-income or poor, 16% identified as working-class (n = 4,970), 42% identified as middle-class (n = 12,815), 32% identified as upper-middle or professional-middle class (n = 9,924), and 3% identified as wealthy (n = 876).
The results of our study suggest that students from low-income/poor and working-class backgrounds were significantly more likely than their peers to experience financial hardships, including the loss or reduction of income from other family members, unexpected increases in living experiences and technology, the loss/cancellation of expected jobs or internships, and the loss of wages from off-campus employment.
Furthermore, students from low-income/poor and working-class backgrounds were significantly more likely than their peers to experience food insecurity and housing insecurity.
Additionally, students from low-income/poor and working-class backgrounds had significantly higher rates of generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder and academic obstacles during the transition to remote learning, such as lack of access to appropriate study spaces, technology, academic advising, and learning support services.
As campuses roll out their programs and services for the fall 2020 semester, we encourage them to consider the unique needs and experiences of students from low-income/poor and working-class backgrounds and reconfigure their programs to address those students’ financial hardships, food/housing insecurity, mental health disorders, and academic obstacles.
Soria, K. M., & Horgos, B. (2020). Social class differences in students’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. SERU Consortium, University of California - Berkeley and University of Minnesota. https://cshe.berkeley.edu/seru-covid-survey-reports
Soria, Krista M.; Horgos, Bonnie.
Social Class Differences in Students’ Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
SERU Consortium, University of California - Berkeley and University of Minnesota..
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