October 5, 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Increased the Need To Strengthen Supports for Arizona Students

Today, College Success Arizona released its newest issue brief, “Educational Equity and Opportunity Gaps: The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Increased the Need To Strengthen Supports for Arizona Students.”  Drawing on national and state-level research as well as our own parent survey that we conducted this summer, the brief presents information and insights that can help advance efforts in Arizona to understand how the pandemic affects educational equity as it pertains to college access and college success.

It highlights some of the key issues college students are facing as a result of the pandemic, how high school students are hindered by lack of access to college information, and the implications of these impacts for Arizona’s future.

Some sobering statistics found in the report include:

  • An April 2020 survey found that ASU students from lower-income families were 55 percent more likely to delay graduation than their more affluent peers.
  • In a national survey, almost 25% of Latino, and 7% of Black students said they expected to take a lighter course load when the new school year starts, as did 18% of the lowest-income students.
  • Among Arizona students eligible for Pell Grants, FAFSA renewal rates decreased by 2.1 percent as of August 14, 2020 compared to the same time last year.
  • In our survey of 400 Arizona parents, nearly 60 percent of parents surveyed—and, notably, 66 percent of rural parents—said they do not have the information they need about how the pandemic will impact their students’ future college enrollment.

These numbers show that barriers to college access have increased, confirming what we feared at the outset of the pandemic. 

At College Success Arizona, we’ve been working to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on our state’s most vulnerable students through our Arizona Postsecondary Student Resiliency Fund, which provided grants to over 1,000 low-income college students across the state. This is just one way we’re working together with partners across the state to increase access to college-going information through AskBenji, AdviseAZ, and AzCAN, as well as providing continued success advising remotely.

Click below to read the brief and learn more: