Western's Fall 2021 Student Preference Survey

In Winter 2021, Western’s COVID Incident Management Team administered a survey that focused on assessing students’ level of comfort of returning to university sites, depending on various scenarios. Results of the survey are being factored into planning for Fall 2021.
All current Western students were invited to participate. In total, 23% of students enrolled in classes during Winter 2021 responded to the survey.

Student Type

What is your year at Western?

Bar chart with approximate values, First-year undergraduate: 18%, Second-year undergraduate: 25%, Third-year undergraduate: 33%, Fourth-year undergraduate: 18%, Fifth+ year undergraduate, 4%, Graduate: 5%, Other: 2% Pie chart. Undergraduate 93.7%, Graduate 5.1%, Other 1.2%

There were a total of 3394 respondents for the survey, comprised of 93.7% undergraduates, 5.1% graduates, and 1.2% other. This mirrors Western’s enrollment of 92.7% undergraduates, 5.3% graduates, and 1.9% other. Other includes non-matriculated and post- baccalaureate students.

Student Identity

If comfortable, please indicate your race/ethnicity. (Select all that apply)

Bar chart with approximate values: American Indian or Alaska Native 2%, Asian 10%, Black or African American 2%, Hispanic or Latino 8%, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 1%, White 72%, Race/ethnicity unknown <1%, Prefer not to answer 5%

This graph does not indicate how many students selected multiple races/ethnicities on the survey. In Winter 2021, 1.3% of Western students indicated they have two or more racial/ethnic identities.


Winter 2021 Enrollment

Survey Responses

American Indian or Alaskan






Black or African American



Hispanic or Latino



Native Hawaiian or Pacific






Race/ethnicity unknown



Demographics of survey responses were compared to overall Western enrollment for Winter 2021 to determine what groups were over– or under-represented in survey responses.

Presence on Campus

Have you been on campus for any of the following reasons since September 2020? (Select all that apply)

Bar chart with approximate values: I have not been on campus 54%, I have taken classes on campus 8%, I have lived on campus 12%, I have worked on campus 6%, I have been on campus for reasons 22%

Just over half of students have not been on campus in the 2020-2021 academic year. Some reasons students may have come on campus other than work, class, or housing include to study, use the computer labs or printers, or for extracurriculars such as athletic practices.

Do you feel that all appropriate measures have been taken to protect your safety on campus this academic year?

(Asked only of students that came on campus since September 2020)

Bar chart with approximate values: Definitely yes 48%, Probably yes 40%, Not sure 8%, Probably not 3%, Definitely not 1%

Of the students who have come on campus this academic year, about 89% feel that appropriate safety measures have definitely or probably been taken on campus.

Enrollment Intent

Are you planning to be a student at Western in Fall 2021?


Pie chart: 88.4% yes, 5.3% No, 6.3% Maybe

The majority of survey respondents intend to continue studying at Western next academic year. Of the 382 students who indicated maybe or no, over 200 of them plan to graduate before fall quarter 2021.

How would you prefer to learn at Western next fall, assuming you feel safe about being on campus?

(Asked only of students who responded yes or maybe to being a student in Fall 2021)

Bar chart with approximate values: I would prefer to learn remotely (all online) 19%, I would prefer hybrid learning (some online, some on-campus) 35%, I would prefer traditional learning (all on-campus) 42%, I don't have a preference 2%

If you are not a student at Western in Fall 2021, when do you think you may resume?

(Asked only of students who responded no or maybe to being a student in Fall 2021)

Bar chart with approximate values: Winter 2022 3%, Spring 2022 2%, Not sure 44%, Never 46%

Of the students who may not or will not attend Western in the fall, 8% think they will return later in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Why wouldn't you return to Western in the Fall?

Bar chart with approximate values: I will be graduating prior to fall 2021 40%, I do not wisht o pursue a degree at this time 4%, I do not feel Western is a good fit for me 7%, I have financial concerns 12%, I have safety concerns 8%, Other 12%, My family has safety concerns 3%, I have non-COVID related health concerns 2%, I want more-inperson classes and/or ability to be on campus 18%

The main reason for students not continuing enrollment at Western was their upcoming graduation, but after that, the ability to be on campus was the primary reason.

Campus Conditions

What conditions would need to be in place for you to feel safe about being on campus next fall? (Select all that apply)

Bar chart with approximate values: A requirement for facial coverings 75%, A requirement for social distancing 55%, A requirement for student and/or employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine 58%, Low COVID-19 case counts on campus 75%, Low amount of poeple living/working/taking classes on campus 29%, Regular testing of students with a presence on campus 69%, Regular testing of faculty/staff with a presence on campus 68%, High rates of vaccination among those on campus 70%, other 7%

Nearly 75% of respondents indicated they would feel safe on campus with requirements for facial coverings and low COVID-19 case counts on campus. This was closely followed by over 71% of respondents saying high rates of vaccinations would be needed. About 6% of respondents indicated there were other conditions needed. Most write-in conditions were expanding on choices selected, stating that no level of precautions would make them feel safe until the pandemic is over, or stating that they did not feel a need for any precautions.

Remote Learning

Do you feel able to learn effectively in a remote format?

Bar chart with approximate values: Definitely yes 20%, Probably yes 29%, Not sure 13%, Probablynot 22%, Definitely not 18%

48.3% of students feel that they are definitely or probably able to learn effectively remotely, and 40.1% feel they are definitely or probably not able to learn effectively remotely.

Which of the follow types of classes, if any, would you prefer to experience on campus, and not online? (Select all that apply)

Bar char with approximate values: Lecture 50%, Seminar 49%, Lab 80%, Field course 58%, Performance 45%, Discussion 49%, Practicum 38%, Resarch 50%, Other 5%

Nearly 80% of respondents  indicated that they would prefer in-person labs, down to 37% preferring in-person practicums. Other classes written in included classes with more hands-on assignments and smaller classes/cohorts.

Vaccination Intent

Do you intend to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when a vaccine is available to you?

Pie chart: 86.6% yes, 4.8% no, 8.6% Not sure/prefer not to answer

86.6% of respondents intend to get vaccinated when they are eligible.

Would you be willing to come back to campus even if you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine?

Bar char with approximate values: Definitely yes 25%, Probably yes 26%, Not sure 16%, Probably not 20%, Definitely not 16%

Many students are willing to return to campus if they are not yet vaccinated, with 48.6% definitely or probably willing. 35.3% probably or definitely would not be willing to return to campus until they are vaccinated.

Comfort Returning to Campus

Based on everything you know about COVID-19, how comfortable would you feel about being on campus in fall quarter?

Bar chart with approximate values: Very comfortable 32%, Somewhat comfortable 34%, Not sure 10%, Somewhat uncomfortable 11%, Very uncomfortable 11%

66.4% of respondents would be very or somewhat comfortable having some level of presence on campus in fall quarter, such as attending class, living on campus, or attending non-academic activities.

Based on everything you know about COVID-19, how comfortable would you feel about being on campus in winter and spring quarter?

Very comfortable 50%, Somewhat comfortable 26%, Not sure 33%, Somewhat uncomfortable 7%, Very uncomfortable 3%"

For winter and spring quarter, the amount of people very or somewhat comfortable being on campus goes up to over 75% of respondents. A slightly greater number of respondents are not sure what their comfort level would be for winter/spring compared to fall.