Staying Above Water: Educational Outcomes of College Students during the 2016 Louisiana Flood

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Kyle BREEN, Louisiana State University, USA
Michelle MEYER, Louisiana State University, USA
With recent increased focus on children in disaster, college students have been surprisingly overlooked. College students may face unique impacts from disaster, as they must balance their need to focus on their education—which they or their families pay for in the U.S.—while also helping their families rebuild and recover from disaster impacts. This study focused on how college students’ reactions and perspectives on the effect of large-scale flood that affected Louisiana, USA in August of 2016 on their college experience, particularly their educational outcomes. The data are derived from in-depth qualitative interviews with 30 college students who were either individually affected or their families were affected by the flooding. The students described numerous ways that the flood changed their educational experience including attendance, course schedule changes, grade fluctuation, and overall motivation for school and studying. Results show that these impacts varied, which could be due to differing demographic factors such as living arrangements and amount of damage. However, a consistent theme for all students was emotional stress, which may mediate the effects of the flood on educational outcomes. This research indicates a need for further research into the multitude of effects that natural disaster has on college students.