People of Color Are More Likely Than White Americans to Have Changed or Canceled Their Education Plans in Response to the Pandemic

Strada Center for Consumer Insights' weekly survey on the impact of COVID-19 finds that 50 percent of Latinos and 42 percent of Black Americans have canceled or modified education plans.

Indianapolis — Strada Education Network, a national social impact organization dedicated to forging pathways between education and employment, has released a new analysis of its weekly, nationally representative survey tracking the impact of the global pandemic on Americans’ lives, work, and education.

This week’s Public Viewpoint report finds that while COVID-19 has led 35 percent of all adults to cancel or otherwise change their education plans—such as delaying enrollment, reducing courses, changing providers, or switching fields of study—the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the plans of people of color.

Half of all Latinos aged 18 to 65 report to have changed education plans, and 1 in 3 have delayed enrollment or canceled plans altogether. Black (42 percent) and Asian Americans (40 percent) also are more likely than white Americans (26 percent) to have changed or canceled plans, with at least 1 in 5 members of both groups delaying or canceling enrollment.

When it comes to their work lives, Latinos (24 percent) and Black Americans (23 percent) also are more likely to have been laid off than white Americans (15 percent), and people of color who remain employed are more worried about losing their jobs.

“Even beyond the disproportionate health impact of COVID-19 on Black Americans and Latinos, it’s clear that our communities of color are experiencing greater disruption of their work and education. Policymakers, education institutions, and employers must address these systematic challenges in order to ensure every American can achieve economic stability,” said Dave Clayton, Senior Vice President at the Strada Center for Consumer Insights. “As Latino and Black Americans signal that they are especially interested in education and training as a path forward, it’s incumbent upon us all to make certain our systems are intentionally designed to deliver on that promise.”

Among positive early signals, Black Americans and Latinos are both more likely to have started new part-time and full-time jobs since the crisis began, and they intend to enroll in education and training programs at higher rates.

Additional key findings from the Public Viewpoint: COVID-19 Work and Education Survey include:

  • Overall adults planning to enroll in education in the next six months prefer employer-based (42 percent) and online options (41 percent) over an in-person community college/trade school (35 percent) or an in-person four-year university (25 percent).
  • Among those without degrees, Black Americans and Latinos are more interested in pursuing degrees, while white Americans prefer non-degree options.
  • Compared to other racial and ethnic groups, Black Americans find less  value in advice from colleges and universities.
  • Black Americans and Latinos are more likely to believe that pursuing education would put their health at risk.

Each week, 1,000 Americans are surveyed for the Public Viewpoint. To date, over 10,000 Americans have participated. The Public Viewpoint is produced by Strada Education Network’s Center for Consumer Insights, a research team that studies the experiences and perceptions of American adults in order to inform the development of a more consumer-centered learning ecosystem. The Center for Consumer Insights provides the nation’s largest education consumer database, which includes more than 350,000 completed surveys about the education and work experiences of American adults.

View the full Public Viewpoint findings at:

About Strada Education Network

Strada Education Network is a pioneering social impact organization dedicated to improving lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment. We believe real impact comes from informing, engaging and empowering learners and leaders alike. Our approach combines innovative research, thought leadership, strategic philanthropy, mission-aligned investments and a network of affiliate organizations. Together, we work to create a new learning ecosystem that better serves the millions of Americans seeking to complete postsecondary education and training, gain clear value from those experiences, and build meaningful careers. Learn more at