News: Member News

What Do NCAN Members and Students Need During COVID-19?

Monday, April 27, 2020  
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By Lindsey Barclay, Member Services Manager, and Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations

Earlier this month, NCAN fielded a short survey to our members to learn about the needs of your organizations and students in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We received 91 responses, representing about 20% of NCAN’s organizational members.

Thank you to all who took the time to let NCAN know your concerns. It was an impressive response rate, especially when we know you are busier than ever.

Please read on to learn what your fellow college access and success professionals are experiencing and thinking about. NCAN will continue to use this guidance as we plan our blog posts, webinars, advocacy, and other member resources.

Q: In addition to financial resources, what are your students' needs? Please check all that apply.

  1. Access to internet and technological devices (82%)
  2. Distance/remote learning tips (68%)
  3. Mental health counseling (67%)
  4. FAFSA completion support (FAFSA helpline, social media campaign, etc.) (64%)
  5. Self-care strategies (60%)
  6. Time management strategies (58%)
  7. Support accessing emergency aid (57%)
  8. Advice on rescheduled ACT/SAT exams (48%)
  9. Other (selected write-in responses)
  • How to get money back from their colleges
  • Help with addressing housing, food and financial impacts from students' and families' lost jobs
  • Advice on pass/fail grading
  • Access to paid online work/internships
  • How to decide to reenroll if classes will be all online in the fall and they don't feel the tuition is worth it
  • How to put this crisis in perspective, such as when moving back home and feeling like a failure
  • How to continue to see the value of a college degree while facing family basic needs issues
  • How to have hope for the future

Q: What are your organization's needs? Please check all that apply.

  1. Technology/virtual platforms to connect with students (texting, videoconferencing, etc.) (57%)
  2. Training on products supporting remote work (42%)
  3. Funding to cover staff salaries (38%)
  4. Training on how to manage staff working remotely (38%)
  5. Advice on leadership during a global crisis (33%)
  6. Additional e-learning courses (23%)
  7. Other (selected write-in responses):
  • Weekly/daily COVID updates
  • How to make financial projections when it is uncertain whether colleges/high schools will be open in the fall
  • Training on how to help students pivot to online learning
  • Funding for our emergency grants for students
  • Advice/suggestions for virtual summer melt work
  • Collaboration in policy and advocacy activity
  • Professional development on student and parent online engagement
  • How to adapt college admissions advising in light of all the uncertainties related to COVID
  • Strategies to support students with FAFSA completion
  • Professional development on motivational interviewing and navigating tough conversations with students

Q: What additional support and flexibility from the federal government would benefit your student population at this time? Please check all that apply.

  1. Automatic FAFSA renewal for returning students (78%)
  2. A permanent Pell increase (beyond AY20-21) of $500 or less (76%)
  3. An influx of funds directly to states to support maintaining tuition costs and/or investment in state need-based financial aid (76%)
  4. A temporary Pell increase of $500 or more (only for AY20-21) (74%)
  5. An increase in Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funding to institutions for AY20-21 (70%)
  6. Allowing all supports made available to immigrants, particularly those who have ITINs (70%)
  7. Funding to increase capacity at the FSA Call Center (34%)

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(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)