Student survey finds health and safety on campus biggest concern


A survey conducted by the provost’s office this summer on what students’ plans were for the fall gives insight into what they consider the biggest concerns and challenges to learning.

The survey was sent on July 28 to all undergraduate, graduate and professional students on the Pittsburgh and regional campuses. Nearly 50 percent of undergrads responded (13,861 out of 27,902) and 42.8 percent of graduate and professional students (4,380 out of 10,245).

Students were asked to indicate how concerned they were about different issues, on a scale of 1 for not concerned at all to 7 for very concerned. The areas that got the most responses of 6 or 7 were:

  • Health and safety on campus: 32.9 percent of undergrads and 46.9 percent of graduate/professional students

  • Making progress toward my degree: 28.4 percent and 34.6 percent

  • Finances: 28.3 percent and 29.2 percent

  • Mental health and wellness: 26.9 percent and 29.4 percent

  • Having a quiet place to study and learn: 24.5 percent and 24.6 percent 

In addition, 31.3 percent of graduate and professional students also ranked transportation to and from campus as a top concern, and 32.1 percent gave a 6 or 7 to international student issues.

The survey also asked how concerned students were about campus policing and profiling; xenophobia; and racial and ethnic bias. For all of these issues, between 19 and 28 percent selected 6 or 7 for their level of concern.

On the issue of how they planned to participate in classes, nearly 70 percent of undergraduates said they would attend all or most classes in-person if there was an in-person option. Another 22.5 percent planned to stay remote for all classes and the rest were unsure.

For graduate/professional students, 45 percent said they’d be remote for all classes, while 40.7 percent said they’d attend in-person all or most of the time if available. The rest were undecided.

While just over 70 percent of all students said they had not technology barriers to fully engage with classes this fall, there were a substantial number — 20.8 percent of undergrads and 15.9 percent of graduate students — who said their internet service wasn’t reliable.

The students also were asked about measures they’ve taken in response to the coronavirus. Nearly all said they have worn a face covering in public, but the number dropped to 79.2 percent of undergrads who said they’d Decided against going to parties or large social gatherings. See the full results below.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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