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The Impact of Social Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic on Academic Outcomes Across Diverse Students

Mon, April 12, 9:30 to 10:30am EDT (9:30 to 10:30am EDT), Division J, Division J - Section 2b Roundtable Sessions


The unique educational model of exclusively online, non-profit higher education institutions afford rigorous evaluation of how the pandemic impacted academic outcomes across diverse student populations, independent of the online transition. The current research used a combination of text mining and structural equation modeling methods to assess the impact of the pandemic on academic outcomes at a large online university. Students who discussed COVID-related issues received significantly more social support from their personal program mentors than their peers. Results also show that, unexpectedly, students who discussed COVID-related issues did not complete fewer course units than their peers. These findings provide scalable solutions for higher education institutions that are striving to support their students during online instruction.