The Effect of COVID-19 on Higher Education



  “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

                             The New Yorker






Students from all over the world want to send a thank you message to university officials for all they are doing for students during this difficult time. # Thank University.  More to come on this effort.

According to an unpublished study by Parthenon’s Global Education Practices, demand for Study Abroad programs will surge after the pandemic subsides. For now, 79% of American colleges and universities expect to experience a decline in their study abroad programs.



According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, as of July 27th, only 12% of U.S. colleges will teach fully online for the fall semester. But that percentage is changing daily.

According to an ICEF Monitor survey, 92% of the 520 schools responding to the survey are planning to use a hybrid learning model for the fall semester.


87% of all U.S. schools are offering accepted international students the option to defer enrollment until the Spring semester. 20% of Harvard’s first-year students, 340 students, have chosen to defer their admission for a year.

As of July 30th, 57,855 international students have been accepted at 286 U.S. colleges and universities and 4,488 have deferred to the spring semester. 

In a Reimagined University first-year students who elected to defer enrollment for a semester or a year year because of the virus would have been assigned a GAP year project that would have earned them credits toward their degree.

India’s Ministry of Education has introduced the National Education Policy 2020 which will allow the world’s top-rated universities to operate in India.

Author’s recommendation: For many reasons, the Chinese supply-chain of students has been broken and Chinese students will never enroll in international colleges and universities in the numbers previously recorded. International deans of admission should look elsewhere in the future to replace their number of Chinese students. India may be a good place to begin to search.

In a Reimagined University international recruitment will focus on in-country enrollment, articulation agreements and two-plus-two-degree completion arrangements and less on college fairs, agent referrals, and school visits. Cohort marketing, or enrolling groups of students from a single source, will replace outmoded recruitment practices.


According to information from the Center for Global Development, a Sino-American trade war could cost the U.S. $1 billion in lost tuition next year.

The growth rate for Chinese students in America has decreased from an average of 22% annually to just 5%. 

 Why I don’t believe Chinese students will leave China to study abroad in the future as they have in the past.

China’s Double-First Class program, initiated in 2015, has allocated more than 300 billion yuan to improve the teaching and research capability of Chinese colleges and universities. There are 42 participating Chinese institutions. The results are impressive. For example, Tsinghua University’s civil engineering, computer science and engineering departments topped Harvard University, MIT, and Stanford Universities in a recent US News and World Report’s Best Global Universities publication.

Better quality instruction in China decreases the incentive to study at “quality” institutions abroad.

On August 7th, The Telegraph reported 18% of job applicants are less likely to receive a callback if they have a U.S. degree.

The average cost of a college degree in China is $1,600. The average cost in the U.S. is $26,820. Although China reported today a 7.2% increase in export numbers from a year earlier. China’s GDP shrank 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020, the first decline since 1992. Many Chinese families simply cannot afford to send their children abroad to study.

Visa policies in many countries throughout the world are confusing and ambiguous, making it difficult for families to plan.

COVID-19 rates of infection are worse in many countries than they are in China.

Final Note: Underpinning all of the above reasons for fewer Chinese students studying abroad is the geopolitical conflict between China and many countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Australia.


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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