Public Viewpoint: Back to School — Perspectives From the American Public

Released August 1, 2020

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Five months into the pandemic, Americans are now three times more likely than they were in April to believe COVID-19’s impact will last more than a year. As we look at the start of the academic year, what is Americans’ assessment of the educational value of the year ahead? How do we feel about whether students should be returning to college for in-person classes? And how do the feelings of those who lost jobs or income during the pandemic differ from those who didn’t?

The nationally representative Public Viewpoint survey, with more than 15,000 responses collected between March 25 and August 6, is intended to provide insights to the education and training providers, policymakers, employers, and individual Americans who are navigating the COVID-19 crisis.


38% of American workers who lost a job or income during the pandemic say they are more likely to enroll because of COVID-19.


1 in 3 disrupted low-income workers say they have access to the education and training they want.


The majority of students believe they will get less value from the education provided this fall compared to last year.

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