Online students’ mental health more likely to suffer

Students also more concerned about their future than they were before COVID
By: | January 28, 2021
Students who were shifted to online learning were more likely to say their college experience had worsened during COVID. (GettyImages/Lorado)Students who were shifted to online learning were more likely to say their college experience had worsened during COVID. (GettyImages/Lorado)

College students enrolled in online and hybrid learning reported mental health struggles at a far higher rate than did in-person students, a new study has found.

Mental health concerns are 75% more common among remote or hybrid students, according to a survey of 1,000 two- and four-year students conducted by Hanover Research, using Hobsons’ Stafish student support platform.

Overall, students reported decreased focus and engagement, and one third said they’ve had trouble paying for food, housing and school.

Students also are more concerned about their future than they were before COVID, the survey found.


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And though more than two-thirds of college students are struggling health-wise, most are not seeking help from their colleges and universities. Those who have sought assistance have turned to faculty and advisors for help, the survey found.

Also troubling, more than 60% of four-year students said they are having a worse overall learning experience than pre-COVID.

Here are some other key findings from the survey

  • 65% of students said their physical activity levels have been impacted by COVID-19
  • 43% are struggling to pay for college and one-third they found it harder to pay for fall semester than previous semesters
  • One-third are having a harder time paying for food than last year
  • Most students know where to get mental and physical health care, but they rarely reach out for help beyond academic assistance
  • Only 21% of students at four-year universities sought mental health care
  • 50% of returning students felt academically prepared for fall classes, with 38% saying they felt somewhat or very unprepared
  • Two-thirds of students are worried about finding a job after they graduate
  • Community college students were more likely to access career services than were four-year university students

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