Marc Lifshin: National Survey Reveals Student Perspective on the Impact of COVID-19

by Katie Sloan

A recent survey conducted by Core Spaces of nearly 2,500 college students throughout the U.S. has revealed insight into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’s impact on student’s mental state, their overall feelings towards remote learning and the financial impact of the virus — both from a personal and parental perspective.

Core Spaces emailed the survey to student residents at 19 of the company’s properties across 12 cities in 11 states. Responses were collected from June 2 to June 9. 

These important survey results speak to a wide range of ways the pandemic has impacted our young people. Their responses provide valuable insight into how college students are hurting and what they want. More than ever, it’s crucial we do our best to make sure their housing is a welcoming and safe place.

Living Preferences

Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they want to come back to campus when classes begin this fall. Seventy-three percent of respondents would like to get back to their universities even if the schools continue online instruction in the fall.

Economic Impact

More than three out of five respondents said the pandemic resulted in economic difficulties for themselves and their families in the following ways:

  • Fifty-seven percent noted that their summer job had been canceled;
  • Thirty-two percent said their summer job hours or pay were reduced;
  • Twenty-one percent had one of their parents lose his or her job; and
  • Fifty-five percent had one of their parents’ hours or pay reduced.

When it came to how students felt about their future job prospects due to the pandemic, nearly 20 percent were much less confident and more than 40 percent were somewhat less confident. Forty percent felt their job prospects were the same as before the pandemic. 

Remote Learning and Studying

More than 58 percent of respondents said online classes had been a negative experience for them. Nearly eight out of 10 said they feel they’d be more successful studying remotely in their apartments vs. their family’s homes. 

Confidence in Being Safe Back at School

Ninety percent of respondents were either very confident (46.6 percent) or somewhat confident (43.4 percent) that their universities would take appropriate and available measures to help protect them and other students from spreading the virus.

More than 85 percent of respondents were either very confident (41.6 percent) or somewhat confident (43.7 percent) that their student housing provider (Core Spaces) would take appropriate and available measures to help protect them and other student residents from spreading the virus.

Psychological Impact

Since the onset of COVID-19, students have noted experiencing the following: 

  • Seventy-six percent have noticed a change in their sleep pattern;
  • Seventy-five percent feel more anxious or stressed;
  • Fifty-six percent feel more depressed or worried; and
  • Twelve percent have seen a professional for physical or mental health.

Desire for Vaccine

When asked how likely they are to want a vaccine if/when it is made available, 63 percent said very likely, 25.6 percent said somewhat likely and 11.3 percent said not likely.

There are so many unknowns around COVID-19. We, along with other student housing providers, need to do all we can to reduce the stress that students are feeling and increase their sense of comfort. We plan on offering a mindfulness and meditation program to our 15,000 residents starting late August. This same program had a positive impact on our own staff. We’re also rolling out a wide variety of measures to consistently sanitize our buildings and continue to protect our residents.

— Marc Lifshin, CEO, Core Spaces

Additional Survey Metrics

In total, there were 2,490 respondents from 19 Core Spaces properties in 12 cities and 11 states. The universities/cities, in order of the highest number of respondents, include University of South Carolina, Columbia (324); Penn State, University City, Pa. (304); *University of Florida, Gainesville (273); Michigan State University, East Lansing (231); University of Central Florida, Orlando (225); Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. (205); University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (199 – three Core properties); *University of Arizona, Tucson (192); West Virginia University, Morgantown (144); University of Oklahoma, Norman (143); *University of Kentucky, Lexington (133); University of Mississippi, Oxford (116).

[*Represents two Core Spaces properties in the same city/campus.]

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