The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education



Can’t be playing for the economy of now.


Frank Luntz, American pollster


I believe Mr. Luntz’s quote could also apply to higher education. For a variety of valid reasons, higher education administrators have been focusing on the higher education of now. I have focused my research and attention on higher education in the future and have been pleased to share some of my insights and predictions with you for the past five months. 

I am honored to report that my white paper, The Reimagined University, has been written and will be published by University World News, in three installments.

The September 12th issue will list the reasons for creating a Reimagined University.

The September 19th issue will list the residuals left in the wake of the pandemic on higher education.

The September 26th issue will present the opportunities of COVID-19 on higher education in the future.

You can access the entire white paper by logging onto:


Although it is too soon to report definitive figures for the number of students worldwide who took advantage of online learning during the pandemic, there is some evidence to suggest that higher education has been made accessible to an increased number of students from the safety and security of their homes. The potential for making higher education less selective and more egalitarian is positive residual of the pandemic.

Meric Gertler, president of the University of Toronto wrote: There is the potential for the worldwide embrace of virtual interaction to have a kind of leveling effect.


Chinese exports soared reaching their second-highest level ever in 2020. China’s share of global exports rose nearly 20% in the April to June quarter.

Chinese universities are surging in international university rankings. Tsinghua University, in a recent Times Higher Education’ ranking report of 1,250 universities in 86 countries, is for the first time, in the top 20 of all universities.

This year, China is having the largest increase in students listing the country as their top educational choice destination. An increase of 121% is expected from academic year 2020 to 2021. Final fall semester enrollment will reveal the actual percentage increase.


Ho Chi Minh city is promoting itself as a regional financial hub. The city’s first phase as a financial center is to provide financial services to neighboring countries, such as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. The following phase is to provide services to a wider number of countries in southeast Asia.

Viet Nam has been one of a few countries that so far, seems to have weathered the devastation of COVID-19. I would watch this country for increased international student mobility.  


In August 2020, the United States announced it is now requiring all Confucius Institutes in the United States to register as a foreign mission, a destination that requires that the organization regularly provide information to the State Department about its personnel, recruiting, funding, and operations in the US.

Australia is investigating university links and ties with China. The government’s probe of Chinese interference centers around technology transfer.

We cannot separate the geopolitical tensions between China and these two countries from future Chinese student enrollments in the United States and Australia. I suspect that in both countries fewer Chinese students will enroll in the fall 2020 semester. I will share actual enrollment numbers as they become available.


Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, reported this week a 300% increase since February in the number of users.  Increased usage from students in South Korea was Mr. Kham’s first indication that something had changed. He was unaware of COVID-19 in February.  


In his article on the future of the workplace, Frank Luntz urges readers to forget the word work and focus on career. Lifelong learning is essential, he writes and students are being more selective about the courses they take and the majors they pursue. Short courses, boot camps, certificate programs in digital marketing and medical services, for example, are the types of programs gaining traction among higher education learners.

In the Reimagined University, chief innovation officers, chief financial officers, academic deans and career counselors, have been successful in adding shorter courses and certificate programs during the academic year. 



To date, 231 class action lawsuits have been filed by students and parents in the United States to receive a reduction in tuition and fee charges. The rationale for the lawsuits is based on the same tuition being charged for online learning and  in-person instruction during the Spring 2020 semester.

In the Reimagined University, the chief financial officer created a differential pricing structure based on the method of instruction. No need for a lawsuit.


Change is coming, whether you like it or not.

Greta Thunberg, Swedish teen-ager who inspired a global climate strike

This entry was posted in Colleges, Foreign Students, International Education, International students, Universities by Marguerite Dennis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Marguerite Dennis

Marguerite Dennis has been recruiting internationally for over 25 years, first at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and then at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. During that time she was responsible for establishing a branch campus for Suffolk University in Dakar, Senegal and Madrid, Spain. Marguerite increased the international student population at Suffolk University by 193% from 1993 to 2011 and increased the number of study abroad programs by 135%, from 20 to 47. She monitored the recruitment programs for Suffolk University in 20 countries and hired a network of 10 international educational consultants. She signed agreements in Viet Nam, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Germany, Mexico, France and Argentina.

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