HILLSDALE – As the COVID-19 pandemic upended life for everyone, students have faced a variety of burdens, ranging from cancelled events to mental health and financial issues.
In order to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, various surveys have been conducted by sites like Science Digest to recover the causal impact of the pandemic on students’ current and expected outcomes.
One study found that due to COVID-19: 13 percent of students have delayed graduation, 40 percent have lost a job, internship, or job offer, and 29 percent expect to earn less at age 35.
Moreover, these effects have been highly heterogeneous. One quarter of students increased their study time by more than 4 hours per week due to COVID-19, while another quarter decreased their study time by more than 5 hours per week. This heterogeneity often followed existing socioeconomic divides. Lower-income students are 55 percent more likely than their higher-income peers to have delayed graduation due to COVID-19.
Additionally, the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that student mental health in higher education has been an increasing concern. The COVID-19 pandemic situation has brought this vulnerable population into renewed focus.
Interview surveys were conducted with 195 students at a large public university in the United States to understand the effects of the pandemic on their mental health and well-being. The data was analyzed through quantitative and qualitative methods.
Of the 195 students, 138 (71 percent) indicated increased stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Multiple stressors were identified that contributed to the increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depressive thoughts among students. These included fear and worry about their own health and of their loved ones (177/195, 91 percent reported negative impacts of the pandemic), difficulty in concentrating (173/195, 89 percent), disruptions to sleeping patterns (168/195, 86 percent), decreased social interactions due to physical distancing (167/195, 86 percent), and increased concerns on academic performance (159/195, 82 percent).
To cope with stress and anxiety, participants have sought support from others and helped themselves by adopting positive coping mechanisms.
Locally, Davis Middle School students were asked how the past year has affected them. Seventh grader Jolie Bryan said not being able to see friends while doing virtual learning was a difficulty. At one point, she fell two weeks behind, but said her parents were helpful in getting her back on track.
Sixth grader Kailyn Frosch said many of her friends had difficulty just because they didn’t have wifi or even supplies like pencils and paper.
“We just had to keep adjusting to the changes,” she said.
Seventh grader Chloe Klingbeil said it was “sometimes hard” doing online learning because when she had questions, she didn’t want to interrupt the teacher.
“Being in the classroom is easier to hold up your hand when you don’t understand something,” seventh grader Brooklyn Whaley said. “Math is something I don’t always get and it’s hard to ask. Mom and Dad helped me, though.”
Hillsdale High School sophomore Shae Arnold said it was hard to focus while studying virtually.
“Keeping a routine was hard and trying to stay motivated,” Shae said. “It was also hard not knowing if we were going to have a basketball season or not.”
Sophomore Addison Hoffman said she would just get tired.
“I felt like just not doing anything after staring at the computer,” Addison said.
Sophomore Megan Rufenacht said not being able to hang out with friends was her challenge.
The pandemic has also created new financial burdens for college students. Many degree-seekers find themselves wondering how to afford college during a pandemic. With college costs continuing to rise, students feel the financial burden. Millions of current students are trying to figure out how to cover their tuition bill, while millions of college graduates are wondering how to make their next monthly student loan payment.
Fortunately, the Federal Student Aid program has suspended student loan payments during the pandemic and dropped the interest rate on all student loans to 0 percent. Earning a degree also provides greater job security for professionals during recessions.
Paying for college is a significant financial undertaking. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition and fees ranges from $9,000-$32,000 per year at public and private four-year colleges and universities. Living expenses typically add another $10,000 per year.
Fortunately, students can apply for financial aid during the pandemic to cover these major educational expenses. Other independent schools offer scholarships of their own.
Hillsdale College senior Steven O’dette said he found the transition of going to online classes was the most challenging part of being a student during Covid.
“The professors also had to switch the curriculum and I noticed my daily work increased because the teachers were trying to make sure we were receiving everything needed,” Odette said.
The first transition last March was “rough,” but the second wasn’t as stressful, he added. He plans to take a gap year after graduating to plan his course of continuing studies in the medical field.
The post “Students have faced a variety of burdens during the pandemic.” Was originally published on www.hillsdale.net