Contact: Laura Osberger
(804) 786-2323 (office) or (804) 387-5191 (mobile)
May 28, 2020
For immediate release
A vast majority of Virginia college students have experienced challenges to their mental health as a result of COVID-19 disruptions, according to a recent survey conducted by SCHEV. Most students also reported experiencing academic challenges, as students at Virginia’s colleges faced nearly overnight campus closures and shifts to online classes due to social distancing requirements.
The survey, conducted between April 20 and May 4, sought to understand student perspectives and experiences in the context of COVID-19. SCHEV collected answers from more than 1,000 students enrolled in public four-year, public two-year, and private four-year institutions in the Commonwealth. SCHEV has published a companion Insights post with more analysis as well as quotes from students.
Nearly 10% of students reported struggles meeting basic needs, such as suffering from food or housing insecurity. A similar proportion reported challenges in childcare.
In addition to facing increased issues related to mental health, nearly half of respondents expressed experiencing employment difficulties. A third of students reported having technology issues, such as unreliable internet access, confusion in coursework planning, or not having adequate at home resources for learning.
Virginia’s institutions are taking measures to address these student concerns, and to mitigate the harm caused by COVID-19. Schools are working to distribute emergency grant funds provided through the CARES Act, and other sources of institutional emergency aid. Many have issued some refunds to students for room and board expenses. As a message of encouragement and solidarity, the presidents of 44 Virginia institutions released a video of encouragement directed to students.
SCHEV has maintained resources for students and institutions on its COVID-19 webpage to address questions and provide guidance during the crisis. Resources for students include links to institutions’ COVID-19 webpages, admissions information, guidance for student borrowers, among others. Resources for institutions include information related to CARES Act funds, emergency aid best practices and other useful resources. The webpage is updated frequently, as more resources and information becomes available.
Media resources including news advisories, logos and releases are available at www.schev.edu/media
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) is the state’s coordinating agency for higher education. With The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, SCHEV is dedicated to making Virginia the best-educated state by 2030. For more on The Virginia Plan: schev.edu/TheVirginiaPlan.