Last week, we found that the vast majority (77%) of students from low-income families believe that their household income level has negatively affected their stress levels and feelings of anxiety and depression during the lockdown. In contrast, those from higher-income backgrounds were much less likely to feel the same. We delved in deeper this week to unpick more on how socioeconomic factors have affected students’ experiences during Covid-19 and lockdown and what this means for universities.
We’ve learnt throughout the weeks that online learning provisions just aren’t enough to replicate the necessary support and education face-to-face modes of learning can give, but this week we built on that:
Students from low-income households are 1.6x more likely to rate their online learning provision as poor or very poor.
And here’s what could be contributing to their low ratings:
Almost 50% of low-income students haven't had a quiet place to study during the lockdown.
Twice as many as those from average or above-average income households.
“Having a quiet place to study means that you can focus on the work that you have to do but I don't have a quiet place to study. My place of study is my bed and it's hard to keep focused when you're not at a desk and have space to do so.”
Two in five low-income students haven’t had access to reliable or fast internet during the lockdown.
Compared to just 18% of students from average or above-average income households.
1 in 10 students from low-income households also said they have not had access to adequate study resources such as laptops, books and stationery during the lockdown.
“I don’t have enough space to work as I have younger siblings who are in education and we don’t have enough broadband. Also we have to share three laptops between six. Online learning is on at the same time for all of us so it is a matter of some of us having to catch up.”
And they’re aware that this is impacting their education, success and potential to succeed in the future. Students felt that access to study resources such as books, stationery and computers had the most impact on their education, with 82% of students who have not had these things saying it has negatively impacted their education. And 74% of students said that not having a quiet place to study has negatively impacted their ability to succeed too.
“I cannot research any universities or start my UCAS applications. I do not always have access to a computer/laptop so I cannot give in any coursework or online work on the due date.”
With schools and universities turning to online teaching as a Covid-19 safe form of learning, it’s important that disadvantaged students don’t get left behind.
But going online is not your only option. This week we also found that the majority of students (71%) said they would still enrol at their chosen university if ‘social bubble’ procedures were in place. Suggesting that, overall, taking this decision would not deter most students from attending your institution. Make it known to students that you’re there to protect them and that you’re putting measures in place to create a safe working environment, because online-only may not be a viable choice for everyone.
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