Company Expands ‘Be safe. Be smart. Do your part.™’ Program with $5K Scholarship Incentive to Empower Students to Stick to Pandemic Protocols
AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC), the nation’s largest owner, manager and developer of student housing communities, released its Fall 2020 Student Resident Report today that provides insights into how students are coping with college life amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are adjusting to primarily online learning. The report summarizes survey responses from more than 42,000 students, which confirms that students are wearing masks and making the most of online learning but lament the impact the pandemic has had on their college experience.
While students agree that in-person engagement is critical and that online learning will never replace the on-campus experience, they are not allowing COVID-19 to get in the way of their academic success. More than 85 percent say they could be “academically successful” this year, which was at 86 percent last year in a pre-pandemic world. While many first-year students chose to remain in their hometowns for their online coursework, their optimism shone through with 91 percent of them saying they could be academically successful despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester, many perceived that college students would be unwilling to follow CDC or institutional guidelines for the in-person college experience amid a pandemic; what we have seen and what this survey tells us is that’s not necessarily the case,” said Bill Bayless, CEO of American Campus Communities. “We surveyed current college students living on- or off-campus to learn that an overwhelming majority of them support their instructors, their universities, and COVID-19 policies but do acknowledge that the pandemic has had an impact on their overall college experience.”
To inspire its residents to act responsibly in doing their part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, American Campus Communities is continuing and expanding its Be safe. Be smart. Do your part. effort by sharing a public service announcement (PSA) video for college students including its nearly 140,000 residents across the nation. By following simple tips and reminders outlined in the PSA, following American Campus Communities on Instagram, and tagging friends encouraging them to also do their part, students will be entered to win a $5,000 scholarship to help with college expenses. Those interested can learn how to enter HERE and winners will be chosen on January 31, 2021.
“We continue to be committed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by reminding our staff and residents to practice positive behavior in prevention and in personal interactions while expressing empathy, kindness and support of each other,” said Jennifer Beese, American Campus Communities chief operating officer. “Our residents have done an amazing job so far but with the pandemic continuing, the ‘Be safe. Be smart.’ scholarship is a way to empower students and reward them for continuing to do their part to keep fighting the spread.”
When asked if they were actively following COVID-19 policies and guidelines, 96 percent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed and 85 percent describe their university’s COVID-19 response as effective or adequate. As far as avoiding social events and parties with more than 10 people, 89 percent said that they do so always or most of the time.
Seventy-six percent of students surveyed are satisfied with the access to and support of college instructors while learning online. However, when asked how they personally were able to adjust to the virtual classroom, 77 percent of survey respondents admitted that the online format made it moderately or much more difficult to learn the material. The comments revealed an overall consensus that in-person classes are preferred with students acknowledging that they are willing to make personal sacrifices during the pandemic.
“My classes have been easily accessible all semester, and my professors have been very understanding of the circumstances surrounding the pandemic and all online learning,” said a female junior in Flagstaff, Arizona. “However, it seems I have more work to do and I’m not learning as much but that isn’t the fault of my professors or the class.”
Conducted in October 2020, the survey garnered more than 42,000 responses captured from one of the largest surveys of its kind specifically targeting college students. Participants of the survey ranged from incoming freshmen to graduate students in 84 university markets in the United States.
About American Campus Communities
American Campus Communities, Inc. is the largest owner, manager and developer of high-quality student housing communities in the United States. The company is a fully integrated, self-managed and self-administered equity real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in the design, finance, development, construction management and operational management of student housing properties. As of September 30, 2020, American Campus Communities owned 166 student housing properties containing approximately 111,900 beds. Including its owned and third-party managed properties, ACC’s total managed portfolio consisted of 204 properties with approximately 139,900 beds. Visit www.americancampus.com.