10 insights from students about the quality of education

Students attending classes in-person were more positive about the quality of their education
By: | January 7, 2021
(GettyImages/Courtney Hale)

While college students remain positive about the education they received this fall, a significant number question whether they will graduate, according to a new survey.

Most students described the learning experience as “excellent” or “very good.” But about one-third have considered withdrawing from courses and half are worried about completing their degree, according to the “Gallup State of the Student Experience: Fall 2020 Report.”

Students also said they aren’t aware of all the resources available to help them face current challenges, according to the survey of about 6,000 students by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation.

Overall, three-fourths of students pursuing their bachelor’s degree rated their education as “excellent” or “very good” while some 80% of first-time students said the same.


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Perhaps among the most concerning responses came from Black and first-generation students, who were “the least likely to say their school offers many of the services designed to combat the impact of COVID-19 and other challenges, including mental health and financial services.”

A little more than half of the students reported that COVID-19 is “very likely” or “likely” to impact their ability to complete their degree.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  1. Black and Hispanic students were more likely than their white peers to say COVID-19 would impact their ability to complete their degree.
  2. Students attending classes in-person were more positive about the quality of their education than those in full online learning.
  3. Those who transitioned from in-person learning in the spring to full online learning in the fall said they were faring worse in their wellbeing, were less likely to feel their professors care about them, and were less likely to have a mentor.
  4. First-time students in the fall of 2020 were less likely to say they have considered withdrawing from courses in the past six months.
  5. About a third of all currently enrolled students say they have considered withdrawing from courses in the past six months. When asked why they have considered stopping classes, the most-cited reasons are COVID-19 and emotional stress.