Student Publication

COVID-19’s Impacts on Learning Environments and Educational Performance of Low-Income, First-Generation College Students


This project explores COVID-19’s impact on first-generation, low-income students’ learning environments at home, educational performance, and experience accessing school resources.

We conducted 21 interviews with marginalized students at UC Berkeley during the university’s remote learning semester in March and April 2021. Marginalized students expressed they experienced difficulties with remote learning that negatively affected their academic success. Marginalized students experienced barriers like insufficient technology, inadequate learning environments, and a lack of connection with their professors and classmates. As a result, students experienced negative impacts on their academic performance and detriments to their mental and physical health.

About IRLE’s Student Research Brief Series

IRLE’s mission is to support rigorous scholarship on labor and employment at UC Berkeley by conducting and disseminating policy-relevant and socially-engaged research. As part of our goal to advance the next generation of scholars, our Student Research Brief series highlights student-led academic research conducted by UC Berkeley graduate and undergraduate students.

To view this brief and others in the series, visit

Series editor: Lori Ann Ospina, Associate Director of IRLE