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The impact on graduate students when a university closes

Wendy B. Schiff (Department of Clinical Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Washington DC Campus, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)
K. Marinka Gadzichowski (Department of Clinical Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Washington DC Campus, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)
Matthew G. Le Brasseur (Department of Clinical Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Washington DC Campus, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)
Melissa C. Carlin (Department of Clinical Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Washington DC Campus, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education

ISSN: 2398-4686

Article publication date: 8 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to investigate the impact of a university’s abrupt closure on the lives of graduate students and examined the role of grit, social support and school identification as they transferred to a new institution.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was administered to a diverse sample of 130 psychology graduate students after their university unexpectedly closed and the students transferred to another institution to complete their degrees. The survey included both qualitative and quantitative measures of the impact on different areas of their lives, anxiety and depression, life satisfaction, social support, grit and school identification.

Findings

Students reported experiencing financial loss, family and marital strain, anger, fear, uncertainty and loss of progress toward professional goals. Nearly 40% of participants had scores indicating elevated anxiety and depression. Students with higher anxiety and depression and lower life satisfaction tended to identify less with their new institution. Both social support and grit were related to better adjustment and life satisfaction.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to examine the impact on graduate students following the closure of an institution of higher education. The findings have implications for educational policy and graduate student support services.

Keywords

Citation

Schiff, W.B., Gadzichowski, K.M., Le Brasseur, M.G. and Carlin, M.C. (2022), "The impact on graduate students when a university closes", Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-03-2022-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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