#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic

#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic

Entering the fall 2020 term, higher education was reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. Enrollment was down—particularly among students most at risk of basic needs insecurity; fewer students had completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid; and college retention rates had dropped. Students and faculty were stressed and anxious. And by the end of the term, more than 267,000 Americans died.

This report examines the pandemic’s impact on the #RealCollege students who were able to continue their education in this challenging environment. We analyze results from the 2020 #RealCollege Survey, completed by more than 195,000 students attending 202 colleges and universities in 42 states.

Topics covered include:

  • Impacts of the pandemic on:
    • Students’ health, employment, and well-being
    • Parenting students’ childcare demands
    • Institutions’ budgets
  • Students basic needs security
  • Utilization of public and campus supports, including:
    • CARES Act grants
    • Emergency aid
    • Public benefits like SNAP, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance
  • Disparities in students’ needs and access to supports
  • Recommendations for policymakers, practitioners, and college leaders

#RealCollege Coalition and System Preliminary Survey Results

In May and June 2021, The Hope Center will publish survey results from two #RealCollege coalitions, Philadelphia and Texas, and five college systems, Virginia Community College System, Los Angeles Community College District, Colorado Community College System, San Diego Community College District, and the University of Hawai’i System. To preview results from these regions and system-specific reports, click the seven images below to view full-size previews.