#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity Among Virginia Community College System Students During the Ongoing Pandemic

#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity Among Virginia Community College System Students During the Ongoing Pandemic

Entering fall 2020, colleges in Virginia grappled with the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Individual campuses contended with how to safely reopen; enrollment dropped, particularly among vulnerable populations; and students faced high levels of stress. At the same time, colleges 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 Virginia Community College System (VCCS) students who were able to continue their education in this trying environment. Using our sixth-annual #RealCollege Survey, we assessed VCCS students’ basic needs security and their wellbeing, as indicated by employment status, academic engagement, and mental health. Across VCCS’s 23 colleges, the survey was distributed to more than 122,900 students and taken by 10,671 of them, yielding an estimated response rate of 9%. The survey was fielded from September to November 2020.

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 SNAP and emergency aid
  • Disparities in students’ needs and access to supports
  • Recommendations for policymakers, practitioners, and college leaders

To learn more about the survey findings, watch the recording for the Basic Needs Insecurity Among Virginia Community College System Students: A #RealCollege Webinar