In response to COVID-19 transmission concerns, students in residence at the University of Victoria have been asked to leave campus by March 27. Those with exceptional circumstances are able to apply for an extension. (Facebook/University of Victoria)

COVID-19 a barrier for post-secondary students

One in 10 unable to complete degrees, while fears over job prospects increase

The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented more than one out of 10 surveyed university from completing their degrees, diplomas or certificates as planned.

This is one of the findings that appears in a new survey from Statistics Canada. The agency surveyed over 100,000 post-secondary students between April 19 and May 1, 2020 about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their academic, labour market and financial situation.

The pandemic has not only shifted classes online for a majority of students, it has also impacted their studies, as well as post-graduation, with 57 per cent reporting that the pandemic delayed, postponed or cancelled their academic work placements or course work. Some 11 per cent said they were not able to complete their degree, diploma or certificate as planned.

RELATED: Many B.C. post-secondary institutions say fall classes will be offered mostly online

Post-secondary students also rank among the hardest hit by the economic effects of the pandemic, with many working in industries such as accommodation and food services. According to the most recent Labour Force Survey, the employment rate of students aged 20 to 24 was 29.8 per cent in April, down from 52.5 per cent in February.

Students also fear dire prospects after the pandemic. Almost six out of 10 (58 per cent) said they were very or extremely concerned about losing their job in the future, and 67 per cent were very or extremely concerned about having no job prospects in the near future.

“Without jobs or prospects, many returning students were worried about how to pay for future education-related expenses, in addition to their current expenses,” it reads.


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