Coronavirus stress changed high school plans



Two surveys of high school students are released today – and both suggest the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt on colleges for some time.

A significant proportion of students report that their college plans have changed and that they want to study close to home and at a lower cost.

A survey was carried out by the America’s Promise Alliance, a national education coalition and other groups focused on “the barriers that prevent young people from succeeding.” The other was by Strada Education Network, which focuses on finding ways to improve lives “by building bridges between education and employment”.

The America’s Promise survey was planned before the pandemic but was restructured after the start of the pandemic. The survey was conducted in March and April 2021 with a nationally representative sample of 2,439 high school students. (It is not clear whether the results would have changed due to the more optimistic view of the pandemic that has set in over the past two months.)

“Students have witnessed tremendous upheaval in their families, schools and communities over the past school year,” said a report on the survey. “Wider influences including the country’s economy, disruption to the higher education landscape, and looming public health issues have imposed great uncertainty on the lives of students after graduation. , about four in five (78%) 11th and 12th grade students said COVID-19 impacted their plans after high school at least a little, with nearly one in five reporting their plans were significantly impacted . “

The report states: “More often than not, students reported changes in where they planned to go to college. For example, a third (34%) of young people say they changed their plans to attend college. university closer to home and a quarter (24%) plan to attend two years instead of four years. Some young people (7%) say they no longer plan to go to university, and 16% say they plan to go to college later.

Among 11th and 12th graders who said their plans had changed, almost half said their plans had changed for financial (47%) or family (45%) reasons. Much less cited changes in their interests (24%), according to the report, “suggesting that the changing plans are largely driven by constraints beyond the control of young people.”

Sean Flanagan, senior research director at America’s Promise, said a large chunk of the students had changed their plans. “They’re really struggling with what their post-secondary education will look like,” he said.

Strada interviewed 1,212 high school students (half of last year’s 12th grade class) whose plans had been disrupted by the pandemic.

The investigation revealed:

  • Most disrupted high school graduates have revised their post-secondary plans in one way or another, with 35 percent of students saying they will choose a less expensive program, with 31 percent looking for options closer to with them, 21 percent a different major and 18 percent a shorter program.
  • Disturbed black students are more likely than their white peers to have changed their future education plans – with, for example, 40 percent of black graduates saying they would look for cheaper options, compared to 33 percent of white graduates .
  • Sixty-nine percent of disrupted graduates still think that additional training would help them find a good job and 63 percent think they would be successful, but only 45 percent think the benefits of education would outweigh the costs.

“The high school classes of 2020 and 2021 saw a massive disruption to their educational experiences,” said Dave Clayton, senior vice president at Strada. “In order to help these students reconnect, educators and policy makers should listen to what these students need: better advice, clear information about the connection between education and careers and a more financial aid process. easy. “


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