THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HIGHER EDUCATION
“Major crisis have major consequences, usually unforeseen.”
Francis Fukugama, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University
THE REIMAGINED UNIVERSITY – ADMISSIONS
I am currently conducting research for a monograph I plan to publish on the Reimagined University. Information will include my vision for reimagining the following:
Progression, retention and graduation programs
A separate article will focus on the Reimagined International Student Office.
Let’s begin with how the admission process could change to meet the needs of the student-customer.
In most institutions, recruiters travel the world and their own countries to collect information on potential applicants. Several of the prospective students become applicants. Several are accepted and eventually enroll. With some exceptions the process, from application to notification, can take several months.
What if the admission process was based on a year-long rolling notification?
What if an applicant, whose file was complete, for example, by November 8th and was acceptable, was notified by November 11th?
What if the acceptance packet contained information not just from the “usual suspects,” but from the registrar who outlined the courses needed to graduate not just for the first year, but for all four, three, or two years?
What if the acceptance packet contained information from the financial aid officer estimating how much it will cost to graduate, how much the accepted applicant could expect in grants, bursaries, etc. from the school and the estimated amount of student debt the accepted applicant would incur?
What if the acceptance packet contained information from the career counseling staff outlining the types of internships, based on major, that could be available to the accepted applicant?
What if information from the alumni office listed recent graduate school placements and job titles of graduates?
What if the acceptance packet contained the names and contact information of the admission, registration, financial aid, retention, and career counselors assigned to the accepted applicant?
And what if your institution was the only one providing this information?
Many of you reading the above may press the delete button: there are too many silos, too much entrenchment, too much institutional resistance to make my suggestions for a reimagined admission process reality. The process outlined is just too holistic and could never work.
I understand all of these concerns and push-backs.
But what if you offered your version of what your reimagined admission process could look like? Are there parts of what I suggest that would work for your institution?
Let’s think from the end. How would an accepted applicant and that person’s family react to having this information in an acceptance packet and have months, not weeks, before enrollment?
Let’s think from the end. Wouldn’t you like to know, on a rolling basis, your yield numbers earlier in the year then is now the case? How could this information impact the planning of your chief financial officer if he/she knew on a monthly basis the likelihood of meeting enrollment and financial targets?
How would your reimagined admission process compete against your competitor schools?
Iconoclastic? Yes. Possible? Yes. Worth a try? I think so.
JUST THE FACTS
According to a report by Strada Education Networks, 25% of Americans want more education if they lose their job as a result of the pandemic. Most prefer non-degree training over the traditional college model.
This week President Trump will sign an executive order prioritizing workforce skills over college degrees when hiring federal workers.
Could workforce education become a new player in future student enrollment?
This week President Trump suspended foreign worker visas, a decision that will impact future international education experts and participants in teacher training programs from coming to the U.S.
Another executive order limits the number of H1-B visas. This decision will negatively impact future international recruiting efforts and make it more difficult to hire professors and researchers.
China is advising students not to study in Australia because of the trade and political disputes between the two countries. However, a recent report in The Australian revealed that Australia is still the first choice of Chinese students despite the warnings from the government. Only 13.7% of the surveyed students indicated that Australia’s domestic policies toward China were a deterring factor in their decision to enroll in Australian schools.
The situation is different however for Indian students. Rising tensions between India and China have resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of Indian students applying to Chinese universities.
The U.S. enrolls 22% of all international students; the UK enrolls 11% and China enrolls 8%.
For the past two decades China had experienced a 5% annual growth rate in the number of international students studying in China. In 2019 there were 500,000 international students enrolled in Chinese colleges and universities.
But that is about to change. In the future China will focus on quality, not quantity.
At the University of California at San Diego, computer models, created by two sociology professors at Cornell University, predict how COVID-19 could cause the spread of the virus on campus. The models reveal a reduction in virus cases when classes are capped at 50 or fewer students. Recommendations include allowing small classes to use large classrooms to allow for social distancing. Another recommendation: teach large classes online.
Note: 97% of the 92 universities in the UK recently polled indicated their fall schedule will include some in-person teaching.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COIVID-19 ON HIGHER EDUCATION
The IMF predicts the world’s economy will shrink 4.9% this year. Less money in the world’s economy means less money in individual households and that means less money for expensive, study abroad programs.
Follow consumer behavior patterns to determine who is likely to apply to your institution and enroll.
England’s Minister of State for Universities announced that EU, EEA, and Swiss students planning to study in the UK will no longer be eligible for home fee status as of August 2021. Students will no longer be eligible for the same tuition rates and financial supports available to domestic students in England.
Stanford University announced that some reduction in the school’s workforce is unavoidable.
The University of Michigan at Flint will terminate 41% of its 300 lecturers to help meet a budget shortfall of $ 8.4 million.
SHIFT FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE INDIAN OCEAN?
Quacquarelli Symonds Work University Rankings 2021 reveal a significant rise in the rankings of Asian universities and an overall decline in the ranking of colleges and universities in the U.S., UK and Europe.
26 Asian universities are among the top 100 schools listed in the report. This is a first!
112 of America’s 153 ranked universities declined, with only 34 recording improvements. The U.S. has two fewer top-50 universities than last year. Carnegie Mellon dropped to 51st and the University of California at San Diego dropped to 54th.
63 of the 84 UK universities declined. Oxford fell from fourth to fifth place, replaced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Reasons for decline include decreases in teaching capacity and research impact.
For decades, government policies and financing schemes in several Asian countries have resulted in the creation of educational infrastructures that can now rival higher education institutions worldwide. The rise in the rankings of several Asian universities is an example of those policies coming to fruition.
At the same time the turmoil surrounding Brexit and decreased federal and state funding for many flagship public universities in the U.S. has resulted in a decline in the ranks of several western schools.
“Human contact is now a luxury good.”
Nellie Bowles, New York Times
A report from New Zealand predicts that COVID-19 will never go away and the world will just have to learn how to live with the virus. If that is so, presidents and vice chancellors should look beyond the juggling they are doing to open their campuses for the fall and spring terms and look beyond that time frame to what will be THE normal.