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IES Grant

Title: The Impact of the COVID Crisis on the Educational Attainment of Economically-Disadvantaged Undergraduates: A Longitudinal Study
Center: NCEE Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Attewell, Paul Awardee: City University of New York (CUNY)
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards      [Program Details]
Award Period: 24 months (10/01/20 09/30/2022) Award Amount: $248,971
Type: Other Goal Award Number: R305U200009

Co-Principal Investigator: Rubio, Edward

The purpose of this project is to better understand the immediate and longer-term education and employment impacts of the COVID disruption on two-year and four-year undergraduates. The project will focus on students enrolled in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, which includes 7 open access community colleges and 11 four-year colleges of various levels of selectivity. The majority of the study's sample of 217,000 students are racial and ethnic minorities, and over a third are immigrants or children of immigrants.

Using a variety of longitudinal methods, the project team will follow the undergraduate cohort most immediately impacted by the pandemic in Spring 2020 leveraging data collected by the University augmented by additional information about progression, completion, and workforce outcomes provided by the National Student Clearinghouse and the New York State Department of Labor. Students in the study sample will be followed through the end of the 2021/2022 academic year.

By charting the effects of the pandemic on undergraduates' trajectories in their education and work lives and documenting how pre-existing inequalities are exacerbated or overcome, this research will contribute to knowledge and policy development about economic disruption and "educational scarring" in higher education. Importantly, the project will also document whether specific support programs at CUNY (e.g., CUNY's Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, or ASAP) aided recovery or otherwise lessened the longer-term impacts of the crisis. These findings will inform policymakers about the range of interventions that can improve students' likelihood of retention and degree completion, mitigating the educational aftermath of pandemic and other significant disruptions.