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College Students Say Mental Health Resources Lacking in Wake of Virtual Schooling

Last updated:  April 12, 2022


2022-04-12

Half of Black college students say they have been discriminated against at their institution  

PROVO, Utah and SEATTLE, April 12, 2022 — Nearly all college students in the U.S. (94%) have experienced remote or virtual schooling two years into the pandemic, and 39% say it negatively impacted their mental health, according to new research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM).  

Overall mental health has declined for college students since the start of the pandemic. Now, as students return to in-person activities, they’re having a hard time getting the help they need, with the majority saying their institutions either don’t have mental health resources or that there are problems with the resources available. Furthermore, more than a third (36%) of all students say they have experienced discrimination at their institution, with the most common reasons being because of their race or political views.  

The troubling findings come amid an existential crisis for many institutions of higher education, when students have had their college experience disrupted to such a degree that many are wondering whether their education is worth the money they are paying in tuition. Research shows a clear disconnect between student sentiment and the way administrators perceive student satisfaction.  

“Going beyond collecting feedback and really listening to students is key to understanding and then effectively addressing their complex challenges around discrimination and mental health,” said Omar Garriott, Global Head of Education at Qualtrics. “Such challenges are widespread on college campuses, but how students experience them is highly unique. To get to what’s lurking beneath the surface and assess what’s actually happening before negative outcomes arise, students have to feel empowered to share their experiences. For schools to take effective actions that remove barriers to equal opportunity, leaders must dial in to student voices and sentiment.”  

Almost a third (29%) of college students say their institution does not have mental health resources, or they don’t know whether it does. Among students who say their institution offers mental health help, nearly two-thirds (63%) say there are inadequacies with the programs, including not knowing what is available (29%), long wait times (20%) and only short-term treatments available (19%).  

Just 57% of students say they would use the resources available through their institution in a crisis situation.  

The Qualtrics report shows that discrimination is another widespread problem requiring urgent attention at higher ed institutions seeking to create an inclusive and positive experience for all.

Students who identify as racial minorities report discrimination at higher rates than white students. Half (50%) of Black or African American students have experienced discrimination at their institution, compared to 42% of Hispanic or Latinx students, 35% of Asian or Asian American students and 32% of white students. And while 83% of white students say they are treated fairly and equitably at their institutions, just 66% of Black or African American students say the same.  

Methodology:  

This study was fielded between January 27, 2022 and February 8, 2022. Respondents were identified through a panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are currently enrolled in a college associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed. The total number of respondents is 1,009.  

About Qualtrics XM for Education  

With over 20 years of experience in education, Qualtrics now serves education institutions across K-12 and Higher Education around the world—including 99 of the top 100 business schools and over half of the top 50 U.S. school districts—helping them understand and improve the experiences they deliver. Qualtrics solutions are purpose-built to help leaders in education understand experiences across departments, take the right actions to attract and retain students and staff and increase engagement and success. Qualtrics’ XM for Education solutions uncover unique insights into the student journey and empower school leaders to close experience gaps—driving increases in enrollment, retention and graduation.  

To learn more about XM for Education please visit qualtrics.com/education  

About Qualtrics  

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand. Over 16,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and take action on experience data (X-data™)—the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.