Online or On-campus: Learning from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Graham Wright, Sasha Volodarsky, Shahar Hecht, and Leonard Saxe

September 2021

Online or On-Campus report coverIn this study, we use the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic to investigate long-standing questions about the role of the physical campus in the undergraduate college experience. The findings are based on survey data collected in spring 2021 from random samples of undergraduate students at three elite, private universities in the Northeast: Brandeis University, Boston College, and Northeastern University. We examined how physical and virtual campus experiences at the three schools related to students’ perceptions of the quality of instruction and faculty engagement, their sense of belonging at their school, and their overall assessment of their mental health.

Key Findings