Webinar in Review: First-Gen College Students - Resources to help you through COVID-19
by Jeffrey Koetje, MD, Director, Business and Strategy, Pre-Health Programs | March 30, 2020
The extraordinary measures that schools across the US have taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic―not least of which are the sudden closures of campuses―have been in the interest of minimizing risk to public health. But these drastic measures, necessary as they are, have created massive disruption and upheaval in students’ lives, and have put tremendous strain on students to figure out how to manage and maintain their lives during a time of great uncertainty and risk.
While many students have access to resources and communities sufficient for meeting their needs, the pandemic has put in high relief the inequity in education that existed well before this pandemic. Students who experience minoritization and/or marginalization in educational settings, such as Black and Latinx students, first-generation students, undocumented immigrant students, LGBTQ students, and poor students, are far more likely to experience a “double jeopardy” vulnerability as a result of the sudden and unanticipated campus closures.
Marginalized and minoritized students are more likely to experience housing, food, and financial insecurity compared to majoritized students (such as white students and students from the middle and upper quintiles of household income). For many such students, COVID-19 is just one of several threats to well-being, and may in fact rank further down the list that also includes the risks of losing a job/income (which may also be a source of support for other family and community members), losing housing, losing access to food, or losing access to the internet and other technology essential for functioning in today’s society. Additionally, some students may find themselves needing to return to unsupportive and even unsafe environments during campus closures.
Whether we are aware of it or not, educational professionals such as academic advisors, career counselors, teachers, and mentors are interacting with and supporting students dealing with challenges right now that are, in very real terms, actual crises. As educational professionals, our ethical responsibility, in moments like this, is to provide tender, sensitive, empathetic care to students, as best we can under the circumstances. It’s our professional duty to approach this moment with a deep commitment to honoring the humanity shared between educators and students, acknowledging that while we are all experiencing a traumatic global event, we each experience this trauma in different ways, with some being especially vulnerable to additional levels of harm.
You’re invited to watch the recording of a conversation we hosted on Tuesday, 3/24/2020, for first-generation students featuring a panel consisting of a first-generation college student and two educational professionals who work with first-gen and other marginalized/minoritized students.
Additionally, the following list points to places and organizations that can help students access resources and support, not just during this crisis, but whenever there is a need:
- The Center for First-generation Student Success has published a resource list for first-generation students
- The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice has published the following guides:
Supporting Students During COVID-19: The #RealCollege Guide
Surviving COVID-19: A #RealCollege Guide for Students
COVID-19 Response for Students Who are Homeless or With Experience in Foster Care
Supporting #RealCollege Students with Caring Enrollment Management and Financial Aid Practices During COVID-19
The #RealCollege Student Implications of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Webinar (Broadcast on 3/19/2020): Meeting Student’s Basic Needs and Keeping them Enrolled During COVID-19
- Believe in Students has partnered with Edquity and RISE to offer the Student Relief Fund
- FAST (Faculty and Students Together) Fund provides small grants to faculty to provide “just in time” emergency aid directly to students via a FAST Fund.
- The Education Trust - New York has published Educational Equity and Coronavirus
- The National Disability Rights Network has published COVID19 and Education of Students with Disabilities: Resources
- Colorín Colorado has published Coronavirus: Multilingual Resources for Schools to support communication to students in multiple languages
- The Trevor Project provides support and crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth, many of whom may find themselves back in unsupportive and/or unsafe environments during this period of campus closures
- Futures without Violence has published a resource list for people who are surviving violence in their relationships and families
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness has published COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide