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  • Writer's pictureValentin Vassilev

With Over 1 Mln International Students, How US Higher Education Responds to Coronavirus

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Mitigating the effect of the pandemic.

Benchmark your institution’s response to Covid-19 with the measures US legislators and higher education institutions take to mitigate the effect of the pandemic.

In 2019, more than 1 million international students were studying in the US. Explore the findings of a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Recruitment & Enrolment

Early examples from admissions offices suggest schools are raising acceptance rates to try to boost fall enrolment numbers in a period of uncertainty, but recent surveys and new projections suggest fall enrolments will be disrupted. The enrolment of international students, who tend to pay more in tuition, could be seriously limited, should travel bans remain in place.

Bans on large gatherings on campus have forced many colleges to postpone campus tours and admissions events. A survey of enrolment officials from EAB found that 36% of campuses are experiencing a decline in admissions visit requests. Several schools have begun planning and using virtual webinars and tours to support prospective students in the admissions process. The EAB survey found that 62% of campuses are adding video conferences and 46% are adding social media platform live events. The outbreak has also disrupted the admissions process related to testing.

Students Abroad & International Students

International Students

According to the Institute for International Education, there were more than 1 million international students studying in the US in 2019, an all-time high. Guidance from the Department of Homeland Security has allowed international students to maintain their visa statuses, even if a college has shifted to online-only classes.

Study Abroad

Many universities have shut down their study abroad programmes and cancelled school-sanctioned trips, especially to hard-hit countries such as China and Italy. Several schools have requested that students delay travel over the spring break.

Addressing Student Support & Resources

Student Financial Aid & Affordability

The Department of Education issued additional guidance to provide flexibility to students and institutions that have had to close due to the outbreak.

Student Loans

On 20 March, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that all borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months.

Campus Housing and Dining

As increasing numbers of colleges limit in-person courses and services, some have noted the serious challenges these closures create for students. Many students depend on college dorms, dining halls and work-study programmes for their housing, food and income. Several colleges have created emergency relief funds. Many schools are offering to refund students' room and board charges on a pro-rated basis.

Move to Online Instruction

Campus Closures

More than 1,100 colleges and universities in all 50 states have cancelled in-person classes or shifted to online-only instruction. Several schools have announced plans to reopen campuses in the fall, with various social distancing approaches in place to protect student and faculty health.

Read: How Will Fall Semester 2020 Begin?

Read: How to Reopen Campus this Autumn

Online Instruction

As colleges move to online-only classes for instruction, additional concerns arise about the quality of educational instruction that can be provided remotely.

Financial Challenges

In the short-term, colleges and universities face a number of unexpected expenses from the outbreak, including:

· Pro-rated refunds issued to students for room and board

· Dorm cleaning operations

· Increased technology costs associated with moving to online courses

The long-term financial strains of the outbreak will be felt in the potential for declining retention and lower fall enrolments.

Source: NCSL

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