What we found
Following a drop in focus in the spring, conversation about higher ed has never been higher. Students are still talking about health and safety but are increasingly concerned with student experience. In fact, experience is now their number-one concern.
These conversations have swung to be more negative, with the number of posts expressing negative emotions increasing 70% from summer 2019 to summer 2020. What’s driving the negative sentiment? Our study identified two primary areas: concerns related to COVID and concerns related to the political climate and social and racial justice movements.
Despite some of the confusion and upheaval students experienced in coming back to school, they were overall supportive of the most common back-to-school measures that universities put in place. Students recognized these measures as integral to their ability to return to campus.
The whole situation continues to influence prospective students, who are grappling with additional anxiety during this application season. As in the spring, posts about applying to college are still down overall and are much more heavily focused on “value for money” than in previous years.
Universities and their actions will continue to be under a microscope as the school year progresses, with students focused on getting the value they feel they deserve from their education and experience.