Online education affected college students – 1 in 4 will not return

By Beata Williams,

Closing in on the 2020-2021 academic school year, students all across the country were affected by attending classes during a pandemic. At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, following CDC guidelines, 97% of students who were enrolled in classes obtaining a bachelor’s degree shifted to online education.

In a recent survey released by Intelligent.com, it was found that 1 in 4 students who left college during the pandemic are not returning. But that’s not the only interesting fact that this survey uncovered.

The survey also discovered that 38% of students of color who had to leave school because of COVID did so because they could not afford tuition, compared to 24% of White students.

A similar survey showed that 41% of minority high school seniors say that they may not go to college at all in the fall, or that it’s “too soon to say”. Close to 64% of minority students have said their plans to further their education has been affected by COVID-19.

While this proved that the pandemic has exacerbated the divide between advantaged and disadvantaged students, there is still a need for education in the future.

Educational inequality can occur from many different factors, like home-life and neighborhood environments. Minorities have also been faced with a digital divide, causing unequal access to computers and high-speed internet that is needed to participate in online classes and video conferencing. Public resources like libraries and school labs were used to help mend the digital divide, but with COVID-19 restrictions, many places were forced to shut down to limit gathering.

For many students who have comfortable spaces to study in, privacy and online connectivity capabilities, the shift to online classes did increase their productivity. For students who live in smaller spaces with shared rooms, less privacy and may have caretaking responsibilities, the shift to online learning during the pandemic decreased their productivity.

The pandemic has created an opportunity to re-envision and shift to a more equitable learning environment through hybrid learning opportunities at lower costs available to everyone, especially students who may struggle financially.

Community colleges serve a large percentage (approximately 50%) of students lacking in college prep skills and those from lower incomes. President Biden’s American Families Plan, has the potential to significantly change the access to education for many students. One way this proposal can help eliminate inequality in education is two years of free community college, which can prevent low-income students from going into debt or taking out loans for their education.

While there is light for life resuming back to normal, colleges and universities across the U.S. will be adapting to a “new normal” for students. With COVID-19 bringing more attention to the financial struggles minority students are faced with, now is a better time than ever to help close the educational gap and offer fair education to everyone.

Beata Williams has worked with students in an academic setting since her early twenties when she began her career in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She fell in love with the robust and diverse opportunities available within an academic environment and the potential to make an impact.

https://pixabay.com/photos/online-course-training-teacher-4702486/

In her early career, Beata Williams  moved to New York City and worked at both Columbia University and New York University Leonard B. Stern School of Business where she worked in Student Engagement, Executive Education, MBA International Programs, Global Programs and Academic Affairs. Beata has extensive experience in admissions with both domestic and international students. Beata is also an expert at Intelligent.com


 

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