The impact of COVID-19 on college students from communities of color

J Am Coll Health. 2022 Nov-Dec;70(8):2399-2405. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1865380. Epub 2021 Jan 27.


Objective: To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily living, mental well-being, and experiences of racial discrimination among college students from communities of color. Participants: Sample comprised 193 ethnically diverse college students, aged 18 to 25 years (M = 20.5 years), who were participating in virtual internships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional 16-item survey was developed as a partnership between two nonprofit organizations. The survey included both close-ended and open-ended questions assessing the impact of COVID-19. Results: The students of color reported disruptive changes in finances (54%), living situation (35%), academic performance (46%), educational plans (49%), and career goals (36%). Primary mental health challenges included stress (41%), anxiety (33%), and depression (18%). Students also noted challenges managing racial injustice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: Higher education institutions will benefit from financially and emotionally supporting students of color during the COVID-19 pandemic and growing visibility of systemic racism.

Keywords: COVID-19; college students; communities of color; mental health.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Students* / psychology
  • Universities