COVID-19 Student Survey

COVID -19 Student Survey  Cover Image of Three Students  COVID -19 Student Survey  College Uncertainties Cover Image of Three Students

The California Student Aid Commission’s (CSAC) newly released results from the Spring 2020 COVID-19 Student Survey provide invaluable data and insight directly from 76,000 students about their experiences during the pandemic and their views on issues related to college attendance in Summer and Fall of 2020.

The survey was sent to students statewide who submitted federal and state financial aid applications and who intended to enroll in college in the 2020-21 academic year. Consisting of college-bound high school seniors and existing college and university enrollees across all sectors of higher education in California, the sample size of 76,000 makes this COVID-19 survey the largest in the nation to gauge the impact of the pandemic on student populations.

The survey found that students have great concern about what the future holds, uncertainty about where they will attend, and how they will afford college and other basic needs expenses. For full results:

CSAC 2020 COVID-19 Student Survey Findings Report

2020 COVID-19 Student Survey

Spring 2020 COVID-19 Student Survey Results

Technical Appendix COVID-19 Survey

Additional Results by Race and Income


What the Students are Saying
Survey reveals increased levels of uncertainty and worry about the future

Student respondents were also given the opportunity to provide written comments in the survey, many of which provided specific examples of the struggles students had in the face of the pandemic:

  • “COVID-19 has changed my plans for college financially and emotionally. I am currently debating whether I should drop my Fall Semester classes because I need to find a full time job to help my family.”
  • “COVID-19 changed my plans for college financially, considering that my mom was working two jobs and both had to close. Now she is doing the best she can by selling “gelatinas” but is barely making enough money to put food on the table.”
  • “I am concerned about being unable to pay rent or other educational expenses. This has added a lot of stress that is distracting me from my academic goals.”
  • “The biggest challenges I face with pursuing my college degree are financial hardships. Because I am out of work, I’m uncertain on how I am going to move forward. My degree is important, but bills are not going to wait for me…I have to pay them.”
  • “…the money that I had designated for school has been going to support my family. For me to become a full time student for fall semester won’t be a possibility this year.”  

Witness the true impact COVID-19 has had on students from all over California by watching them discuss the challenges they’ve had to navigate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

California’s higher education system – and its students – represent the primary path back to prosperity and will lead our state forward. Even amid the pandemic, students remain hopeful and discuss their aspirations for the future, emphasizing how much financial aid has played a role in their college education. 

Students need our investment to succeed as well as survive, both in good times and in crisis. #CAStudentsSpeak ​


Engage with Us on Social Media
Help us spread the word by sharing our #CAStudentsSpeak videos on social media and by telling us what financial aid has meant to you and your college success. Don't forget, financial aid is available and FAFSA/CADAA applications open up on October 1st.

Tell Us What Financial Aid Has Meant to You by Tweeting Your Financial Aid Story. 

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Keep the conversation going. Share your story and spread the word about FAFSA/CADAA applications opening up on October 1st. Use the hashtag #CAStudentsSpeak and tag us on Instagram and Twitter @castudentaid and @CalStudentAid on Facebook. 

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