International enrollment drop will cost US universities US$4.5bn

admin 0 Comments June 1, 2020

United States colleges and universities are bracing for declines in international student enrolments in the coming autumn (fall) semester, a prospect that could lead to a loss of revenues as high as US$4.5 billion and further slow the momentum of overseas recruitment, a pair of reports examining the impact of COVID-19 on US higher education suggest.

The reports also raise concerns about the potential long-term consequences, including jobs lost and missed opportunities for global learning, if study abroad opportunities for US students are scaled back dramatically because of the uncertainties around public health.

Nearly 90% of 599 schools responding to a study conducted by the non-profit Institute of International Education (IIE) said they expect international student enrolments to drop this autumn, and 30% of them anticipated a “substantial” decline. About 85% anticipated a decline in interest of students in going abroad in the 2020-21 academic year.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators is calling on the US Congress to support relief packages and stimulus bills it says could help to “revive and restore” international student enrolment and study abroad programmes, which it said “have been brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic and the global response to it”.

NAFSA’s analysis of responses from 346 institutions estimates that US higher education overall will lose at least US$3 billion due to anticipated international student enrolment declines in autumn 2020.

That is on top of NAFSA’s estimates that nearly US$1 billion has been lost because of shortened or cancelled study abroad programmes in the spring and summer, and more than US$600 million was spent in the spring semester to support international students, scholars, faculty and staff who remained on campus when courses moved online.

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