New Report Details Pandemic’s Impact on Undergraduate’s Finances, Communications With Schools

By Owen Daugherty, NASFAA Staff Reporter

As vaccination rates increase and COVID-19 cases continue to decline, a new report with responses from more than 60,000 undergraduate students aims to take stock of students’ wellbeing and experiences at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The report from the National Center for Education Statistics found that in the spring of 2020 — within months of the pandemic taking hold — 84% of respondents said they experienced some or all their classes moving to online-only instruction. Notably, 27% percent of students reported receiving a tuition refund from their school, and 38% said they received a refund for room-and-board.

The data compiled in the report comes from responses from roughly 61,000 undergraduate students in an attempt to provide the first national estimates of the impact the coronavirus had on postsecondary students in the first academic semester of the pandemic. The report covers the period ending June 30 of last year.

Some of the most salient findings in the report concern how institutions adapted amid the pandemic and attempted to provide support to students. Regarding emergency financial aid made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package, the report found that students with Pell Grants received emergency financial aid from their institutions at over twice the rate of students without Pell Grants, 22% as compared to 9%. 

Slightly less than 15% of all respondents across institutional types reported receiving emergency financial assistance from their institution. Relatedly, about 40% of students said their institutions provided needed information about obtaining physical or mental health care and about accessing emergency financial assistance from any source, and 37% said their institutions provided needed information about accessing food assistance.


Publication Date: 6/21/2021

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