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Parents Trust Campus Safety Measures More than Students

Parents are more comfortable than students with the virus response undertaken by colleges and universities. A recent survey found that while 57 percent of parents thought campus precautions were satisfactory, just 46 percent of students said the same. For wealthier families, the response was even higher — 61 percent for those with household incomes of $80,000 versus 40 percent for those with household incomes of $40,000 to $80,000.

The responses surfaced in a survey done by ACI, a global company that provides online bill payment services, including for institutions of higher education. The research project was done in September online by YouGov Plc, an international research company based in London, which surveyed 509 adults, who were either students enrolled in college or parents paying tuition and/or room and board.

A slight majority of respondents (52 percent) said their college or university was offering campus housing with a hybrid learning scenario, which included both in-person and virtual courses. Another 22 percent said their schools weren't allowing students on campus and were delivering instruction via virtual classes. And 18 percent reported that they or their students have put off classes until in-person sessions have started again. This choice was more prevalent, the survey found, in the Midwest, where 21 percent reported delays in taking classes, compared to 13 percent in the west.

Besides campus safety questions, the survey also asked people about payment trends. Almost half of respondents (49 percent) said they hadn't seen changes in how schools are handling payment options since the arrival of the pandemic.

Six in 10 respondents (61 percent) said they'd expect at least a partial refund if virtual classes end up costing the school less than their in-person classes. Yet just 52 percent would expect to see any savings passed down due to campus infrastructure reductions.

While 44 percent of parents said they'd expect a full refund of unused fees for on-site services, just 35 percent of students agreed. For higher-income households (those with incomes over $80,000), the overall response was 77 percent, compared to 70 percent in households with incomes between $40,000 and $80,000.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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