Financial and Mental Health Challenges Experienced by Students with Disabilities During COVID-19

November 13, 2020

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Title: The Experiences of Undergraduate Students with Physical, Learning, Neurodevelopmental, and Cognitive Disabilities During the Pandemic

Authors: Krista M. Soria, Bonnie Horgos, Igor Chirikov, and Daniel Jones-White

Source: Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium

Researchers from the SERU Consortium administered a survey to students enrolled at large public research universities from May to July 2020. Respondents who reported having a physical, learning, neurodevelopmental, or cognitive disability were more likely to have experienced higher rates of the following, relative to their peers without a disability:

  • Increased financial hardships (e.g., unexpected increases in living expenses, loss of income),
  • Food and housing insecurity, and
  • Major depressive and anxiety disorders.

These students also reported lower likelihoods of:

  • Feeling like they belong on campus,
  • Agreeing that their campus supported them during the pandemic, and
  • Living in an environment free from physical or emotional violence or abuse.

Subsequent recommendations for colleges include allocating support for living expenses, expanding mental health services, improving the availability of basic needs resources, and creating more emergency housing.

Click here to read the report.

—Anna Marie Ramos

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