Date of Award

Fall 4-19-2022

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Shane Nordyke

Second Advisor

Julia Hellwege

Third Advisor

Kathryn Birkeland


COVID-19, Pandemic, Mental Health, Finance, Academics, South Dakota

Subject Categories

Economic Policy | Models and Methods | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology


The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly took over the United States (US) in the beginning of 2020. Nationally, damages to finances, housing, and mental health have impacted many. Despite being one of the least densely populated states, South Dakota quickly rose to some of the highest rates in the nation and was identified as a national hotspot. While there have been significant reports on the effects of COVID-19 on certain communities (healthcare workers, small business owners, parents), more research is needed on the effects on university students. In this report, I aim to assess damages based on financial status of students, mental health, and academic status. To investigate these effects, I created a survey to assess the academic, financial, and mental health impacts the pandemic had on students at the University of South Dakota (USD). While the respondents’ experiences varied, the results show that the COVID-19 pandemic did have an impact on the mental health, financial status, and/or academic status of USD students. Further, many students believe that USD could have done more to have better responded to the needs of the students.



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