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Survey: HBCU Students Struggling During Pandemic

July 31, 2020
 
 

Students at historically Black colleges and universities are having trouble with their mental well-being and financial stability due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey of more than 5,000 students across 17 HBCUs found that many are dealing with difficulties such as sick family members, trouble paying bills and general stress from the ongoing pandemic and recent protests against police brutality.

The United Negro College Fund surveyed the students at its member institutions in June.

Due to the disruption and stress from the spring semester, the majority of respondents -- more than 80 percent -- want to return to their college campuses for some level of face-to-face instruction in the fall. About 10 percent fewer students said they would re-enroll in the fall if the semester was completely online. More than 4,000 respondents said they wanted more information from their colleges on health and safety plans for the fall.

More than one-third of students said they have experienced declines in their mental health due to the pandemic. Those students are three times more likely to consider transferring than those who have not experienced mental health issues. Women were more likely than men to report declines in their mental well-being.

More than half of the respondents said their finances have been affected by COVID-19. Personal anecdotes reveal that family members of many students have lost their jobs. Those students are also more likely to consider transferring institutions.

"My father is unemployed, my grandmother whom I live with struggles to make ends meet, so I have to step up and become an adult even more than before. I'm currently alone for paying for school," one respondent wrote.

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