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Research

CC Students Unaware of School Support Options

Even as many community college students juggle classes, work and family support with the additional challenges posed by the pandemic, most aren't aware of the help their colleges might offer. In a recent survey undertaken by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, 57 percent of students said they didn't know if their schools had support services to help them cope with current stresses. Another 5 percent said their colleges didn't offer support services at all.

The survey was intended to understand the impact of COVID-19 on students entering community college. The survey was given to 5,193 students in 38 colleges; 33 of the schools ran the survey online, while five ran it in person, in the classroom.

"As communication has become more difficult in the virtual world, colleges may need to be more intentional around messaging about available services that can help students cope with stresses caused by and exacerbated by the pandemic," a report covering the results noted.

The survey also found that money worries continued to plague students' concerns. Thirty-seven percent said they were struggling to pay for college, 16 percent due to the pandemic and 21 percent due to other reasons.

Twenty-eight percent reported that their household's financial situation was worse now than it was before the pandemic. Finances were worse for female students than male students (32 percent compared to 22 percent), and worst of all for female students with children depending on them for their care (43 percent).

While almost all institutions continued with online courses in fall 2020, just seven in 10 students (71 percent) reported having internet access at home that was reliable. Another 25 percent said they had connectivity at home, but it wasn't reliable. The remaining 4 percent said they couldn't access the internet at home at all.

Among those students who did attend in-person classes in fall 2020 (about 16 percent of the total), nearly two-thirds (61 percent) said they've tried to avoid situations on campus where they were unable to stay physically distanced from others.

The report was funded with support from the Trellis Foundation.

The full report, "The Impact of COVID-19 on Entering Students in Community Colleges," is openly available on the CCCSE website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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