uAspire Pandemic Impact Report
July 23, 2020
These past few months have been transformational – from COVID-19 to the fight for racial equity. As we close the fiscal year, we want to share how your support has been instrumental in driving impact for students nationwide.
When the coronavirus forced colleges and high schools to shut down in March, our students were in a critical window in which college decisions get made and support is needed the most. Seniors were in the thick of completing verification requests, reviewing financial aid offers, and deciding which college they can afford to attend.
Meanwhile, college students facing severe financial challenges caused by the pandemic’s economic fallout had to adjust to online classes and keep their grades up from home. Yet, far too many lacked reliable Wi-Fi or the computers needed to participate.
Nearly overnight, all of our advising work shifted to virtual, an engagement model that has been core to our practice and outcomes. Our experience and virtual systems were now more important than ever. We met students where they were–on their phones—to help them navigate ever-evolving financial aid and higher ed systems and access resources to meet their basic needs.
Since May, students have endured violent reminders of the devastating role of systemic racism in our society. Advisors offered students holistic support since the beginning of the Black Lives Matter protests, making sure they feel heard and cared for and connecting them to mental health resources.
As uAspire begins a new fiscal year, we reflect on our work’s impact over these difficult months. We invite you to learn about our multifaceted response to the compounding crises brought by COVID-19 in uAspire’s Pandemic Impact Report.
Now, in a summer of difficult decisions, students of color and students from low-income backgrounds face unprecedented obstacles in their college pursuits. Unable to afford their first choice, questioning whether online/hybrid education is feasible or worth the price, or setting aside college to work or care for younger family members. Whatever the reason, if students put off college, the repercussions will affect not only the students themselves but also the economy for decades.
The stakes have never been higher. We all have a vested interest in making higher education affordable. At uAspire, we are committed to listening and adapting to serve our students and advance policies that address their needs, while sharing what we learn as widely as we can.