The impact of COVID-19 on UK university students: understanding the interconnection of issues experienced during lockdown

Paul McGivern, Jack Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The pandemic profoundly disrupted university students’ lives. Many students have parenting and/or caring responsibilities and work part-time jobs. Undergraduate cohorts today are extremely diverse, comprised of people from a wide range of social, ethnic, economical and cultural backgrounds.

Research has highlighted the different ways the pandemic has affected the lives of students globally. During lockdown(s) universities responded swiftly to students’ needs enabling them to continue with their studies, though such responses were reactive to targeted needs. Given this, a more granular understanding of the interconnectedness of the issues experienced by UK students during the pandemic is required.

This study used conventional Content Analysis to review qualitative responses from 82 participants aged 18+ years. Participants also completed the validated Fear of COVID-19 scale. Three themes: Education, Health, and Quality of Life emerged from the data. The interrelatedness of these themes was highlighted, thus evidencing the complexity of the issues experienced. Overall, Fear of COVID-19 scores were low.

These findings have implications for higher educational establishments and wider professional educational bodies moving forward. Whilst higher educational establishments supported students throughout lockdown(s) via targeted responses and interventions, these findings suggest that a more nuanced response to students’ needs is required in future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPower and Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2022

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