The coronavirus pandemic has ruined everyone’s future plans, especially future students who could have been most severely affected. But more than anyone else, black and Latino students have disproportionately canceled plans to pursue a college or university education, all because of COVID-19, a study finds.
In a report by UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Initiative, nearly a third of black and Latino students saw their plans ruined to pursue post-secondary education at a much higher pace than white students.
The report used Census Bureau data to analyze and try to understand how the coronavirus pandemic has affected (and is still affecting) households across the country. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, before vaccines were readily available, 11% of Latino students planned to cancel their college plans in fall 2021. Black students were 10% more to cancel their plans of university. According to the study, only 6.4% of the total population has canceled their plans for post-secondary studies.
But if you’re thinking, “Things got better when the vaccine came, didn’t they? you would be wrong.
From the report:
The vaccine rollout more than halved the proportion of students who planned to cancel their post-secondary education across all racial and ethnic groups. This means that while fewer students of all races canceled their educational plans, racial gaps in educational disruption persisted after the vaccine.
Inability to pay was the most cited reason for educational interruptions. Additionally, multi-ethnic, black, and Latino students were more likely to cancel their post-secondary plans due to economic hardship than white students, revealing another layer of the pandemic’s unequal distribution of economic hardship. Nearly 45% of Latino and Black students canceled their degree plans due to changes in income due to the pandemic, compared to 38% of white students who did. Vaccine rollout had little impact on these rates.
As with most things in the United States, intersectionality plays a huge role in how people are affected, it’s no different with prospective students. Your skin color, gender, and socioeconomic background have had a huge impact on students of color trying to get an education, and researchers understand that.
The report said, “The educational disparities reported in this fact sheet, while spurred by COVID-19, reflect and perpetuate the structural barriers that continue to limit opportunities for communities of color to use higher education as path to social and economic security.
These findings were also reflected in Census Bureau data that was analyzed by the researchers. He revealed that school enrollment in the United States fell by 2.9 million from 2019 to 2020 and enrollment of students under the age of 35 fell to its lowest level in 20 years.