Many lower-income students are abandoning higher education due to COVID-19

Desteny Lara is 18, and she goes to California State University, East Bay. Like many college students in America, she recently had to leave campus and move back home — she’s from South Central Los Angeles. For her, moving back means living in a two-bedroom apartment with 10 family members and grappling with how to keep her focus.

“When it comes to concentrating and doing work, I normally do it at night, because everyone’s asleep. Everyone’s quiet, and it makes me focus more,” Lara says.

Still, it’s getting challenging. And she says she wonders how much longer she can do this for: “Sometimes I think to myself, is school really worth it?” 

This is exactly what educators and experts are worried about. COVID-19 and the ensuing economic crisis is putting even more pressure on low-income and first-generation college students. It’s starting to show: So far, there’s been a decrease in

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