Th Impact and Opportunities of COVID-19 on Higher Education

You should worry less about Latin America’s short-term economic downturn, and more about its long-term educational decline.


      Andres Oppenheimer, The Miami Herald



The information in this section is preliminary data on student enrollment numbers for the fall 2020 semester. I will update in future bulletins.


The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported this week that enrollment in the United States declined by 2.5% for undergraduate students. Community college enrollment declined 7.5% and enrollment of international students decreased by 11.2%.


The Australian Department of Education, Skills, and, Employment Report published figures for the fall term this week. Total enrollments declined 3.2% and new student commencements decreased 18.4%.

I predict that these preliminary figures will, in the weeks to come, reveal declining student enrollment in many countries, including many countries in Europe, and Latin America. I also predict that student enrollment numbers will register increases in many countries in Asia, Southeast Asia, and China.


Data on 123,309 Indian students by Yocker revealed that interest for the 2021 academic year has shifted slightly from the United States to Canada, the UK, and Germany.

A World Education Services survey of 615 prospective international students revealed that 67% did not believe the pandemic will impact their intention to study in the United States. 20% were less interested in pursuing a degree in the US.


The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization’s report, World Tourism Barometer, reported that international travel worldwide decreased 65% in the first six months of 2020 and $460 billion has been lost in export revenue derived from cross-border tourism.

60% of Asia is still closed to tourists. In Europe the figure is 17%.


College is open, but life is shut down.

Paul Moakley, Katie Reilly, Time

As of September 22nd, more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported on US colleges and universities.


Over 800,000 Chinese students who studied in the US, UK, and Australia returned to China this year in search of employment in an already crowded domestic job market. This number increased 70% from 2019 and these returning students are competing for jobs with 8.74 million new graduates from Chinese colleges and universities, the largest number ever reported.

The implications for Chinese internal stability and future Chinese international mobility are obvious.


As the real world knocks on our door, we crave nothing more than a little direction.

                              Kristine E. Guillaume and Jeremy Tsal, Time

Higher education administrators are struggling with the unfamiliar and as the quote suggests, crave direction. But no prediction can guarantee when the virus will end, when a safe vaccine will be distributed, and when “normal” life, including college life, will resume.

No forecast is better than a random guess. So much can, and probably will, change before life returns to whatever it will be. That is why I believe it is so important for college and university chief executives to begin to reimagine now what their schools will “look like” after COVID-19 ceases to dominate our lives.

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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