Ben HaywardApril 20th
2020

An extensive survey has revealed that over 80% of students are concerned that the Coronavirus outbreak will have a negative impact on their prospects of finding employment. 

The study was carried out by the National Union of Students (NUS) and OneVoice Digital to listen to and understand the student voice during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The survey was taken by a sample of just under 10,000 students (9,872) who are currently in higher education, asking them a series of questions about how the Covid-19 pandemic was affecting them across different aspects of their lives.

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And it seems that, when looking to the future, the potentially profound effects on the economy being discussed across the wider population are also resonating among students.

Those asked are generally very concerned about the economic outlook, with 81% afraid their job prospects have been seriously hit by the Coronavirus outbreak.  

70% have fears over their personal employability, a staggering 95% said they are concerned about the wider economy, while 85% are worried about their exams and assessments.

There is also little confidence that things will be ‘business as usual’ when universities do reopen.

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Just 5% are confident that enrolment will take place in person on campus, while nearly 85% envisage a study landscape that is very different to the one in place pre-coronavirus pandemic.

When asked about how they were being affected in the here and now, a major concern among students was money.

80% are worried about how they will manage financially as a result of coronavirus, with a shocking 72% worried about their ability to pay rent and 70% concerned over bill payments.

As a result, 46% of students in rented accommodation have contacted their landlords around issues such as rent payments, tenancy length and their own health. And while 35% of students would like to be released from their rental contracts early, overwhelmingly 89% of their landlords have not given them the option to do so, which has led to hundreds of students joining the rent strike movement.

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Of the 62% of those students sampled who hold jobs alongside their courses, 87% have had to make adjustments to their working, leading to a reduction in income.

Additionally, 55% of students said that the income of those who provide financial support to help them study has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In terms of mental and physical health however, students seem to be less worried about their own personal wellbeing and more about that of their family and friends.

While 91% of students are worried about someone in their family and 83% concerned for some or all of their friends, only 63% are worried about themselves.

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Almost all of those who took part (93%) said they are practising social distancing, with students taking a variety of approaches to help manage their concerns and look after their mental health.

82% are staying connected with friends and family through remote technologies, 64% are maintaining some sort of daily routine, 61% are leaving home to exercise once a day and 56% are supporting or caring for others, with 25% volunteering in their communities. 

In more positive news, 73% of students say their institutions are keeping students up to date on developments by their institutions - although International students are less confident that they have the information they need, facing uncertainties around accommodation, visas and finances.

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