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The Impact of COVID-19

on College Students
A survey of 822 students
April 10th – April 12th



Overview .............................................. 2
Key Findings 3
Statistics................................................ 4
Methodology ........................................ 6

Overview 2

Coronavirus has battered college life. Students are still scrambling to stanch the
cash-bleed from leaving campus in early March. As the dust settles, students must
remedy massive financial, professional and social wounds.

College students lost key lifelines like meal plans, dorm housing and campus
healthcare when they were ordered off campus, and lack the $1,200 shock-cushion
extended to most Americans. And the withering economy has forced companies across
industries to cancel and delay job offers to young workers. The immediate financial
concerns blend with anxiety over long-term job prospects, which could be stunted by
graduating into a recession.

The hard financial shocks, and soft social shocks have sparked a third trend:
heightened mental distress. Being torn from friends, blocked from campus resources and
losing jobs has exacerbated mental health struggles.

The pressure from finances, personal adjustments, and the new market paradigms
are affecting students’ mental health, with majority of students reporting at least “a good
amount” of mental health distress. Some schools are taking steps to lower the pressure
on students and help them improve their well-being in the midst of this crisis. But their
ability to serve students has also been limited, perhaps when the students need them the

Students’ experiences with virtual learning have been subpar , with over three
quarter of students claiming that it has been worse than in-person learning. And over 40%
of students rely on academic support – like tutoring - which they now may only receive
improvised formats, if at all.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, college students have had to make profound
adjustments to transition out of their life on college campuses. Many are facing personal
financial distress, without relief by the stimulus package. On top of that, they are facing
large economic uncertainty. These developments are expected to have long-term effects
on the behavior and trajectory of a generation.

Key Findings 3

“ As the dust settles, students must remedy

massive financial, professional, and social wounds ”

Ø Over 90% of students are worried about

the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on
the job market

Ø Programs for 73% of student who already

had internship or post-graduation work
arrangements have either been cancelled
or moved to remote work

Ø Over a half of students are experiencing at

least a good amount of mental health

Ø One third of students are concerned

about their personal financial situation and
would need the $1,200 stimulus check,
not being issued to them

Ø Three quarter of students are having a

worse experience with virtual classes than
the in-person ones

Statistics 4

Table I

Not concerned 2.18%

Not really concerned 7.23%
The US economy and job market Moderately
concerned 41.60%
Very concerned 48.99%
Not concerned 8.59%
Not really concerned 32.13%
Personal health Moderately
concerned 39.93%
Very concerned 19.35%
Not concerned 3.81%
Given the coronavirus
Transmitting the virus to the elderly Not really concerned 10.21%
outbreak, how concerned
and immunocompromised Moderately
are you about the
population concerned 32.69%
Very concerned 53.28%
Not concerned 8.15%
Not really concerned 24.67%
Social isolation Moderately
concerned 39.41%
Very concerned 27.77%
Not concerned 9.81%
Not really concerned 24.35%
Personal financial situation Moderately
concerned 35.71%
Very concerned 30.12%
Not at all 13.16%
Not very much 35.58%
Mental health distress
A good amount 36.28%
A great deal 14.99%
To what extent are you Not at all 14.78%
experiencing the following Not very much 42.66%
Financial distress
as a result of the A good amount 28.61%
coronavirus outbreak? A great deal 13.94%
Not at all 8.61%
Concern about job and internship Not very much 19.79%
opportunities A good amount 30.60%
A great deal 41.00%

Statistics 5

Table II

Not at all 54.51%

College's meal Not very much 21.25%
plan A good amount 15.64%
A great deal 8.61%
Not at all 55.71%
College healthcare
Not very much 27.18%
(including mental
A good amount 10.04%
How much did health services)
A great deal 7.06%
you depend on
Not at all 62.08%
the following?
Not very much 16.41%
Work study
A good amount 11.03%
A great deal 10.48%
Not at all 32.67%
Academic support
Not very much 25.97%
(tutoring, TA
A good amount 25.17%
sessions etc
A great deal 16.19%
I didn't have any plans 30.49%
How have your internship or post- My plans were canceled 26.16%
grad work plans have changed My plans were switched to remote work or
since the coronavirus outbreak? delayed 25.40%
My plans did not change 17.95%
Much better than in-person classes 3.34%
Somewhat better than in-person classes 10.25%
How would you describe your
The same as in-person classes 9.23%
experiences with virtual courses?
Somewhat worse than in-person classes 49.34%
Much worse than in-person classes 27.83%
College students were excluded Desperately need it 24.53%
from the $1,200 stimulus checks. Of Need it 41.29%
course, everyone can use extra
Do not particularly need it 29.61%
money, but how much would
$1,200 affect your financial
wellbeing? Don't need it 4.57%
Do you intend to return to school I would continue with online education 85.08%
next year if the pandemic means I would take time off 13.34%
social distancing is still necessary? I would transfer to an online school 1.58%

Methodology 6

General: College Reaction utilizes multiple measures throughout the polling process to
maximize accuracy, ensure internal and external validity, and provide reliable information. This
data was weighted by geographic region.

Sampling: College Reaction has a customized approach to get the most accurate randomized
sample of students at each college. Samples are aimed to represent the specific population
of each college, demographic trends, and the national student population at large.

Depending on the availability of public information and resources available to us, we have a
“non-probability” sample of recruited students who have opted-in to participate in our surveys
in exchange for a monetary incentive. We have focused our efforts to minimize biases in our
recruitment process through different randomizing processes. College Reaction utilizes
publicly available information and contacts a randomized group of students with an offer to
opt-in for receiving our polls in exchange for an incentive. 

College E-mail Address: We utilize students’ college email addresses to prevent multiple
responses. We collect demographic information from students. We compare this data to each
school’s demographic trends and the national student demographic information to ensure
that our sample of students are representative of the target population. This data is also
utilized in weighting responses for accurate results.

Survey process: College Reaction sends the survey designed by the client to the requested
sample of students via email. The email asks the respondent to complete the attached survey.
Student typically have 24 hours, or in case of long surveys certain number of days, to fill out
the given survey. There are a few factors that might impact accuracy of the question process
or introduce biases, such as question design, order, and whether or not the respondent can
be identified.

Question design: The response accuracy could be influenced by the subject of the poll and
the wording of the questions. The responsibility of designing questions and the potential
biases that it introduces to the outcomes falls on the client. College Reaction is willing and
able to provide assistance in survey design. College Reaction takes active measures in the
design of its polls to mitigate introduction of any biases

Methodology 7

Weighting: The proportions have been weighted by gender and race according to each
respondent's self-identified response. The weights were generated by comparing the sample
proportion of each combination of gender and race to the corresponding true proportion of
college students in the fall of 2015. The true proportion was found on the National Center for
Education Statistics website under the total fall enrollment for 2015.

The purpose of weighting the results is to provide a distribution of results that most closely
resembles the distribution had the entire population of college students been surveyed. By
weighting, the new results are based on a population that, percentage wise, matches the
demographics of college students across the nation. When weighting is not conducted,
certain demographics are vulnerable to underrepresentation or overrepresentation.

Respondent anonymity: Identifiable responses introduce biases and lower response rate.
College Reaction utilizes an anonymous and de-identified survey approach.

Results: The responses to our polls are monitored for multiple responses and accuracy of
answers through tracking time spent on the survey, email address, and other traceable web


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