COVID-19 Stopout Student Survey: Key Insights

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In the weeks following the COVID-19 pandemic, ReUp Education surveyed thousands of stopout students at our partner colleges and universities to understand how the crisis was affecting their academic, personal, and professional goals. 

We found that many stopouts, whether they have re-enrolled in college or not, are facing significant life disruption as a result of the virus. But the majority of students, even those who anticipate the most disruption, still do not expect the crisis to keep them from re-enrolling or remaining in college.

Non-traditional students, who often balance work and family commitments in addition to their studies, now make up the majority of the postsecondary population — and are likely to bear the brunt of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The findings from this survey shed light on the way that the pandemic is impacting these students’ college pathways — in ways that may help higher education institutions and other stakeholders better support their needs.

 

TOPLINE FINDINGS

  • The disruption caused by COVID-19 is impacting students’ reenrollment plans. About 40% of students do not expect the pandemic to influence whether they re-enroll or remain in school. 
    • But among respondents who said that COVID-19 would significantly disrupt their lives, a much higher number say they may not re-enroll or remain enrolled, compared with students who did not expect the virus to be disruptive.
    • About 40% of those who said they face major disruption are either significantly or moderately less likely to re-enroll, compared to 12% of those who face no disruption and 22% of those who face moderate disruption. 
    • Despite the sentiment that the pandemic will not influence re-enrollment decisions, over half of enrolled students said that the COVID-19 pandemic is significantly or moderately disruptive to achieving their academic goals.  Only one in five enrolled students said they face no disruption. 
  • Finance remains a primary barrier, particularly for those affected by the pandemic. Financial concerns are the top reason students who face disruption may not re-enroll. 
    • 45% of students who said they face significant disruption said that managing financial pressure is the biggest factor in deciding whether to re-enroll. This was twice the rate of the second biggest factor, balancing work or career (22%). 
  • Momentum matters. Those students who have completed more than one term were more likely to say that COVID-19 won’t negatively impact their decision to re-enroll.
  • Students at two-year institutions feel greater pressure. Respondents who had stopped out of (or re-enrolled in) two-year institutions were more likely than those at 4-year institutions to anticipate significant disruption from the pandemic.
  • Institutions are communicating effectively. 57% of students report that their school has been moderately or extremely effective in communicating important information and policies in the wake of the pandemic.

Methodology

This survey was developed and conducted by ReUp Education. Between March 26, 2020 and April 2, 2020, ReUp surveyed 678 stopout students from its 35 partner institutions who have re-enrolled or have expressed interest in re-enrolling. The survey mode was web survey. No compensation was offered or given in exchange for participation. For more information please contact info@reupeducation.com.

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