New York, NY, —WeWork, in partnership with research and strategy firm brightspot strategy, has today released the results of a new survey that holistically assess the student experience during the Fall 2020 semester following the onset of COVID-19.
Higher education has undergone a dramatic transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic largely sent students home to engage with new or revamped online learning platforms in the Spring of 2020, the Fall semester brought a range of responses.
Higher education institutions pursued a mix of in-person, hybrid and online models as they struggled to balance demands to reopen with the ability to de-densify and keep students safe, and the new WeWork survey assessed the impact of those different models on students.
The survey polled 400 undergraduate students from these different models across the country and found:
- Overall student satisfaction declined 27 percent in Fall 2020, compared to Spring 2020 (the onset of COVID-19).
- Fully online students are half as satisfied as compared to fully in-person students (35 percent satisfied versus 69 percent satisfied), while hybrid students, with a mixture of in-person and online classes, are 67 percent satisfied. Students attending classes fully in-person are 15 percent more likely to rate their academics as “far above average” this semester compared to fully online students.
- The two most important reasons students value campus — “in-person classes” and “being together with friends” — are areas of the student experience that have seen the greatest decline from Spring 2020 to Fall 2020.
- Students’ assessments of their academic growth, personal growth, and community experiences have dropped between 14 and 21 percent on average from Spring 2020 to Fall 2020. Specifically, students reported a 23 percent drop in “feeling engaged in my coursework,” and a 20 percent drop in “working on long-term projects.”
- On average, students would choose to allocate the majority of tuition (59 percent) toward non-class expenditures (including access to technology and campus facilities), and the minority (41 percent) toward classes.
The survey is representative of undergraduate students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs across the United States. These students attended primarily public and private four-year institutions, with a strong representation from research institutions. Additionally, the survey collected information on how these institutions have adjusted to COVID-19, their policies and procedures, as well as information regarding student home and study environments.
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