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COVID-19 pandemic, comparative study, higher education, inequality, disadvantaged students


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact worldwide, affecting 600 million students in higher education institutions across 200 countries. However, comparative studies by country on this topic are limited. In this paper, we explore the question: how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected higher education students and which ones have been impacted the most? Indonesia and Vietnam are our focus. We leveraged a rich set of data collected online from college/university students from both countries involving over 2600 participants, and used regression analyses to measure the students' outcomes, including the dimensions of their wellbeing, financial hardships, access to technology, and educational satisfaction. As expected, we find that there are statistically significant differences between both countries, especially among first-generation, low-income and rural students in almost all the outcomes in our four domains. We observed that low-income students and rural students in both countries were less likely to have access to technology during the pandemic than their more affluent and urban counterparts. They also were more likely to endure financial hardships during the pandemic. We did not find any statistically significant estimates for students’ burnout measures among the students in these two countries. In addition, we observed lower likelihood of satisfaction from rural and low-income students in Indonesia. We provide our policy recommendations for both countries.

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EDRE Working Paper

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