Higher education is essential for creating a more equitable, prosperous, civic-minded, and healthy society. Yet, wide disparities remain when it comes to access and success in higher education based on race and ethnicity. Racist policies and structural barriers mean that not all students have equal opportunities to attain an education and succeed in college. These disparities were further magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous and Latine Americans were more likely to get sick with COVID-19, and Black, Latine, and Asian women were more likely to lose work. Meanwhile, college enrollment has decreased precipitously among Black and Native American men.

This report from the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University explores how students’ college experiences during the pandemic varied by race and ethnicity.

Among the study’s key findings:

  • At more than 70 percent, rates of basic needs insecurity are highest among Indigenous, Native American, and Black students. Meanwhile, the rate of basic needs insecurity among White students is 54 percent.
  • Pacific Islander and Indigenous students have the highest proportion of students who experience challenges in accessing the Internet or a computer, with four in five students facing that challenge at four-year colleges and universities.
  • Approximately seven in 10 Indigenous, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Black students who were employed also experienced basic needs insecurity.
  • Approximately eight in 10 Indigenous and Native American students experienced basic needs insecurity despite receiving a Pell Grant.
  • Indigenous women experienced the highest rates of anxiety and depression, at rates of 47 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
  • Among students experiencing basic needs insecurity, Southeast Asian, White, and Asian American students were the least likely to use supports, while Indigenous, Native American, and Black students were the most likely to use supports.The report concludes with a list of recommendations of what colleges, governments, and community leaders can do to ensure a more equitable recovery. Those suggestions include making federal emergency aid permanent, expanding funding that serve students of color, and creating a federal-state partnership to help provide more sufficient funding for public colleges.

Read the report in detail

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