The coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted students’ academics, mental health and outlook on the future, but a majority of students are not utilizing nonacademic support services provided by colleges to get help, according to a wide-ranging new survey report published by Hobsons, an education technology company, in partnership with Hanover Research.
Over all, 57 percent of returning undergraduates surveyed during fall 2020 said that their learning experience during the semester was “somewhat” or “significantly” worse than the previous year, according to the report. The returning students who have learned entirely online or in a hybrid model during the pandemic were more likely to believe that their experience was worse compared to students taking classes fully in person, who had better results, the report said.
A nationally representative sample of about 1,000 students was surveyed, including those attending both two- and four-year colleges, the report said. However, more returning four-year students expressed dissatisfaction with their learning experience during the fall semester than two-year students; 61 percent of students at four-year institutions said their experience was “worse” versus 37 percent of returning two-year college students. Seventy percent of students at four-year colleges also reported that they had more trouble focusing on their academics during the fall, compared to 51 percent of two-year students, the report found.
Sixty-eight percent of all students surveyed said that COVID-19 has “somewhat” or “very” negatively impacted their mental health, the report said. The pandemic’s effects on mental health have been slightly more acute for returning students than first-year students, according to the report.
But despite these challenges and students' self-reported knowledge of support resources at their colleges, 77 percent of all students said they have not sought help at their college for their mental health, the report said. The undergraduates were more likely to have reached out to academic advisers, professors and teaching assistants for support, the survey results showed.