COVID-19 Work and Education Survey
Updated September 16, 2020
Millions of Americans are aspiring adult learners — individuals without college degrees who are seriously considering enrolling in additional education. Looking specifically at adults ages 25 to 44, we see their interest in enrolling has increased since the onset of COVID-19. Our new findings, however, reveal they are also less confident about the value of additional education than they were a year ago, they face critical barriers to enrollment, and they do not clearly understand how to connect their education to careers. Comparing their perspectives from a year ago with the present, we can see what has — and hasn’t — changed for aspiring adult learners and what they care about most in their education.
The nationally representative Public Viewpoint survey, with more than 17,000 responses collected between March 25 and Sept. 3, is intended to provide insights to the education and training providers, policymakers, employers, and individual Americans who are navigating the COVID-19 crisis. This week’s analysis integrates additional data from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey from spring 2020 as well as the Aspiring Adult Learners Survey conducted in fall 2019.
Public Viewpoint is led by Strada Consumer Insights. Learn more about our research and the value of the education consumer perspective here.
This interactive dashboard explores the experiences and perspectives of a nationally representative sample of American adults as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts on work and education. Click the statement and variable categories below to discover more about the effects of this crisis on everyday Americans.
Released Sept. 16: Interested But Not Enrolled: Understanding and Serving Aspiring Adult Learners
Adults considering enrolling in education are less likely than a year ago to believe it will be worth the cost and get them a good job.
2 in 3 (68%) adults considering enrolling in education prefer nondegree pathways, up from 1 in 2 (50%) a year ago.
The portion of Americans without degrees who cite the ability to pay bills and take care of immediate needs as the primary benefit of education has doubled since a year ago.
For adults without degrees, worry about finding a satisfying career ranks nearly as high as worries about needs such as having enough to eat or paying rent.
Fewer than 1 in 3 adults without degrees say they understand available career pathways, valuable skills, and details about potential education programs “very well.”
Charting the new path forward takes all of us, and Strada will continue to update our COVID-19 Resource Center with immediate needs, actionable data, future strategies, and virtual events to help stakeholders stay informed and communities connected.
In addition, we’re tracking surveys and findings from many of the partners and organizations assessing how COVID-19 is impacting Americans’ attitudes and experiences related to education and work:
- Roundup of Gallup U.S. COVID-19 Coverage (Gallup, August 19, 2020)
- Coronavirus Index (Ipsos/Axios, weekly)
- Understanding Coronavirus in America (USC Center for Economic and Social Research, daily)
- Dashboard of Fall 2020 plans for academic instruction (The College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College, rolling)
- Higher Ed and COVID-19: National Student Survey, Pt. III — The Fragility of Trust (SimpsonScarborough, August 2020)
- What Student Enrollment Decisions Say About Melt, Retention Risk, and the Next Recruiting Cycle (Eduventures, August 2020)
- Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment (National Student Clearinghouse, September 2020)
- COVID-19’s Impact on Current and Future College Students (New America and Third Way, September 2020)
- The Impact of Coronavirus on Households in Major U.S. Cities (NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, September 2020)
Released Aug. 26: The New Education Consumer — What’s Driving Americans’ Interest in Short-term and Virtual Skills Training Options?
Released Aug. 12: Back to School — Perspectives From the American Public
Released July 29: The Value of Online Education
Released July 15: Enrolling in Education: Motivations, Barriers, and Expectations
Released June 24: Reskilling and Changing Careers in the Midst of COVID-19
Released June 10: Disparities in Disruption: COVID-19’s Disproportionate Impact on Work and Education for People of Color
Released May 20: Education disruption, enrollment, and advice
Released May 13: New Jobs
Released May 6: Trends by Job Fields
Released April 29: Trends in Education Plans
Released April 22: Impact Differences by Race/Ethnicity
Released April 15: Generational Differences in Impact
Released April 8: National Overview
Released April 1: National Overview
* Survey completed weekly by Heart+Mind Strategies on behalf of the Center for Consumer Insights.
Learn more about Strada Consumer Insights