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From May through mid-June, 2020, TheDream.US administered its second Annual Scholar Survey to better understand our Scholars’ college experiences and the contexts in which they are navigating their college and career journeys. 

Given the unprecedented pandemic, TheDream.US included a section on the impact of COVID-19 on the Scholars’ academic journey and personal well-being. In addition to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, this Scholar Survey was conducted amidst two other significant events – first, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Trump Administration’s attempt to terminate DACA; and second, the killing of George Floyd on May 25 and the heightened Black Lives Matter movement.

Both of these events undoubtedly impacted Scholars’ survey responses that demonstrate higher levels of anxiety but also resilience as Scholars made their way through college increasingly tenuous immigration and social climates. Of the 3,850 Scholars enrolled during the 2019-2020 academic year, 2,681 participated in the survey (70% response rate). 86% of respondents had DACA, 3% were TPS, 9% were undocumented and never had DACA or TPS, and 2% were of another undocumented status. 80% identified as Hispanic or Latino. 

Overall, survey responses indicate that during the 2019-2020 academic year, anxiety around their legal status and COVID-19 weighed heavily on Scholars. When compared to last year’s survey findings: 

  • The financial burden brought on by the loss of their and their parents’ jobs as well as the exclusion from higher education funds in the CARES Act stimulus package, was significant. 
  • Their confidence in achieving their academic goals and their sense of community and belonging in the United States was lower. 
  • Scholars’ had heightened concerns around their short and long-term plans and their ability to pursue meaningful careers. Remarkedly, despite these challenges, TheDream.US Scholars remained focused on completing college, giving back to their communities, and pursuing post-undergraduate goals.
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