In the United States, students particularly affected by the health crisis

(ETX Daily Up) – dir=”ltr”>Many American students have suffered material and psychological hardship since the start of the pandemic. Their deteriorating mental health is having a real impact on their academic career, as a new report from the Gallup Institute reveals.

The institute surveyed more than 5,000 American students pursuing higher education (bachelor’s or associate’s degree) about their state of mind after months of enforced isolation and distance learning. If this population is already particularly vulnerable outside of the pandemic, it is now even more so. A third of young people enrolled in a bachelor’s degree (32%) say they have considered interrupting their studies for a semester or more during the last six months. This phenomenon is even more accentuated among students seeking to obtain an “associate degree”, the equivalent of a diploma in general university studies (DEUG).

Most Americans say they’ve considered dropping out of school because of emotional stress—whether they’re pursuing a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. The Covid-19, the cost of studies and the difficulty of their university course are also among the most cited reasons. “If higher education institutions have to deal with an increase in mental health disorders [au sein de la population estudiantine] for a decade, it is clear that the pandemic has exacerbated an already critical problem”, notes the Gallup Institute in the study, which it carried out in partnership with the Lumina Foundation.

These results are, unfortunately, hardly surprising. The pandemic has led to an increase in cases of depression and anxiety across the world, as previously revealed in a study published in October in The Lancet. Young people have been hit harder than older age groups, as they experienced this crisis during the founding period of coming of age.

Concern over student debt

Many young people, whether in the United States, the United Kingdom or France, feel that they have been forgotten by the authorities during this period. US states such as Arizona, Colorado and Florida have tried to respond by allowing students to take a day off to take care of their mental health. Some schools across the country have even created relaxation rooms to help them better manage their daily stress and anxiety.

The deterioration of young people’s mental health is not without consequences for American students, but also for the university system itself. “The decline in enrollment represents a significant challenge for higher education institutions, especially for small institutions that rely heavily on enrollment to stay open,” said the Gallup Institute.

Another subject of concern: the repayment of student debt. Many analysts fear an increase in defaults among young graduates. In 2021, some 40 million Americans accumulated a debt of 1,700 billion dollars (1,612 billion euros) contracted to pay for their higher education. A pause on the repayments of certain student loans had been decreed in March 2020 by Donald Trump due to the health crisis, before being extended until May 1 of this year by Joe Biden. “Millions of people who took out student loans are still dealing with the impact of the pandemic and need more time to resume repayments,” the US president said in December. A few days before the end of this system, many Americans fear that part of the youth will be even more immersed in precariousness.

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