#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity Among Texas College Students During the Ongoing Pandemic

#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity Among Texas College Students During the Ongoing Pandemic

Entering fall 2020, colleges and universities in Texas grappled with the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Individual campuses contended with how to safely reopen; enrollment dropped, particularly among students most at risk of basic needs insecurity; and students faced high levels of stress. At the same time, institutions in the state received an unprecedented federal investment in student emergency aid via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This report examines the pandemic’s impact on #RealCollege students in Texas who were able to continue their education in this trying environment. Using our sixth-annual #RealCollege Survey, we assessed Texas students’ basic needs security and their well-being, as indicated by employment status, academic engagement, and mental health. In total, nearly 13,000 students from ten 2-year colleges and four 4-year colleges and universities in Texas responded to the 2020 #RealCollege Survey, fielded from September to November 2020. The survey response rate was 9%.

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

This report is part of our #RealCollegeTexas project.