The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education

                          THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HIGHER EDUCATION


  “The world is changing Understand what’s ahead”   The Atlantic


Author’s Note: For the past ten weeks I have attempted to share with you my insights and predictions about the impact of COVID-19 on higher education. Like many of you reading these bulletins, my focus was on the immediate impact of the virus on the spring and fall terms.

Next week I will travel from Naples, Florida to Cape Cod, Massachusetts so Bulletin # 11 will be sent to you not on June 5th but on June 12th.

The bulletins in the upcoming weeks and months will move from the immediate to the long-term. I will focus my research not on the rethought college or university but on the reimagined one. I will write not about strategic plans, but rather about vision plans. I will share research not on the new normal but on the normal, not on the ephemeral, but on the permanent.

I trust you will find this information both insightful and useful.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States believes there will continue to be outbreaks of COVID-19 in the fall and winter months and cautions that there cannot be a single plan for when and how colleges in the U.S. open safely for the fall term.

A survey of 310 college presidents conducted by the American Council on Education revealed that more than half, 53%, plan to resume in-person classes in the fall.

88% of surveyed colleges and universities in the U.S. expect international student enrollment to decline in the 2020-2021 school year and 30% expect a substantial decline. (The Hechinger Report)  

A series of interviews with affluent Chinese parents revealed a re-evaluation of sending their children abroad for college. Economic uncertainty, certain countries responses to the pandemic and rising anti-Chinese sentiment in certain parts of the world were the reasons cited. (South China Morning Post

Indian students are changing or delaying their plans to study abroad for the fall term. Canada, Germany and the UK have emerged as countries of interest to potential Indian students.


High unemployment rates throughout the U.S. will result in state budget cuts due to the loss of tax revenue. Many institutions will be forced to raise tuition. Many prospective domestic students will be unable to pay the increased costs and many prospective international students will not be interested in paying the higher costs. Fewer international students translates into fewer U.S. jobs; 455,000 fewer jobs.

The pandemic has already cost UK universities an estimated 790 pounds. For most schools the shutdown has meant no or reduced income in accommodation, catering, and conference revenue. 

In the U.S. auxiliary income from bookstores, residence halls and summer camps was $44 billion in the 2017 fiscal year. Like in the UK, the virus has shutdown most of the operations that would or could produce that level of income this year.

Australia expects its higher education sector to lose between AUS$3 –6 billion for this academic year.


Robert Jackson, Chair of the Global Carbon Project at Stanford University, reported that carbon emissions have dropped 17% during the pandemic.

The University of California announced this week that it is divesting its $126 billion portfolio from fossil fuels into more environmentally sustainable investments, such as wind and solar energy. 

David Green, president of Colby College in Maine, announced yesterday that the college has pledged to find jobs for all of its students.


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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