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Study finds surprising results on COVID cases on MBA campuses

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Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by Robert C. Hoopes

A surprising new study conducted by researchers at an Ivy League university has revealed that higher COVID-19 infection rates were found at wealthier colleges and universities, contrary to previous scientific studies that showed higher infection rates in poorer communities.

The study, conducted by Sophia Zacher ’21, Lewis Davis, and Stephen Schmidt, analyzed data from 1,069 U.S. schools during the 2020-21 academic year, combining it with additional data from IPEDS. The researchers found that institutions with higher endowments per student and higher tuition fees had higher rates of COVID-19 infections.

In addition, the analysis showed that more illness was reported at more selective schools, further complicating the narrative around COVID-19 transmission in higher education settings. Zacher and Davis were surprised by their findings, as they had initially expected the opposite outcome based on previous studies.

These findings highlight the need for further research into the factors contributing to COVID-19 transmission on college campuses. As students and faculty continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, understanding how socioeconomic status and institutional resources impact infection rates is crucial for developing effective public health measures.

The researchers hope that their study will spark conversations within the higher education community about how to best protect students and staff from COVID-19, particularly at wealthier institutions where infection rates may be unexpectedly high. Ultimately, addressing these disparities is essential for promoting the health and safety of all members of the college community.

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