College Success Arizona — Policy Brief – The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Increased the Need to Strengthen Supports for Arizona Students

| October 6, 2020
Newest policy brief highlights key systemic issues and barriers that students and families face when it comes to accessing higher education opportunities and succeeding in college, especially during the pandemic.
October 5, 2020
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 percent of Latino and 7 percent of Black students said they expected to take a lighter course load when the new school year starts, as did 18 percent 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 more than 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 Ask Benji, AdviseAZ and AzCAN, as well as providing continued success advising remotely.
About College Success Arizona
College Success Arizona works to significantly increase the college attainment rate of students in Arizona, particularly for those who otherwise would not be able to attend or graduate, such as low-income, first generation, and Latino students. We advocate for long-term, sustainable policy solutions that address key challenges in Arizona. Our priorities include closing information gaps that limit college-going culture, working to improve college affordability and increase state financial aid, and advocating for increased attainment statewide to drive economic growth.


Category: Education, Programs, Resources

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