Marguerite DennisTHE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HIGHER EDUCATION

                                          MARGUERITE J. DENNIS


BULLETIN # 6                                                                        APRIL 27 – MAY 1,2020


For the past six weeks, I have sent information on the impact of the pandemic on higher education. The list of recipients has increased as has the amount of information I have compiled. 

 So beginning with this week’s bulletin, I will re-format the information to include a section of facts, a section of my interpretation of the facts and a concluding section which I hope will make some of you smile.

Paul Hanstedt, director of the Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence at Washington and Lee University, wrote the following about the impact of COVID-19 on higher education:

“The virus is breaking down the boundaries between static learning and the wicked fluidity of the world.”

It is my intention, as each of you walks down your own corridor of isolation, to illustrate the connectivity of the academic and administrative functions of higher education. 



A new survey of concerns of college and university presidents in the United States revealed that the main concern of 86% of the presidents was short-term attrition and long-tern enrollment. 

The survey also revealed:

76% of presidents planned to invest in new, online learning resources

70% planned to move admissions online

62% planned to reduce the workforce

38% planned to institute salary reductions

36% planned to reduce benefits and

28% planned to revise admissions’ standards



A survey conducted by Amherst College of 54 college counselors in China revealed that 87% are “reconsidering” studying in the United States because of safety concerns, fear of visa denial or deportation, and uncertainty about remaining in the United States after graduation. BUT 70% of the counselors suggested that if Chinese students were admitted to a prestigious college in the United States, they would choose to enroll in the U.S.


The Fulbright Program notified all 2020-21 scholars that the start date for international travel will be delayed from fall 2020 to January 2021, at least.

According to a United Nations World Tourism Organization report, 96% of all destinations worldwide have introduced travel restrictions since January 2020. As of April 6th no destination has been lifted.

International travel was suspended for 95% of faculty and staff in March. 

Passenger numbers at Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest airport, was down 97% last month.


According to a survey conducted by Strada Education Network, an estimated 28 million Americans, or 1 in 5, have canceled their educational plans because of the virus.

QS collected responses of 24,000 American students at the end of April who plan to defer or cancel their study abroad plans. Only 10% said they had not changed their plans to study abroad.

One in ten American high school students who planned to attend a four-year college in the fall, full-time, no longer plan to do so.

According to a UNESCO report, the pandemic has disrupted learning for nine out of ten students, (87%).


Online learning platforms such as Open Classrooms, Future Learn, and Coursera have experienced a surge in demand.

More than 120,000 students in 1,200 schools are enrolled in the Paris-based Open Classrooms.

Future Learn developed a course “How to Teach Online,” and 30,000 people signed up for the course in a few days. 

A survey conducted by Tyton Partners revealed that only 57% of American parents surveyed would continue at an institution if it offered only online education. When asked to respond to the quality of the remote instruction students were now receiving, on a scale of 1 to 10, they ranked the quality of online learning at 5.6. 

This same survey also found that parents were less likely to pay the same tuition rates as were charged before COVID-19.


Davidson College in North Carolina will allow any accepted applicant affected by COVID-19 to delay fall 2020 tuition payments for a year.

Southern New Hampshire college is offering a full-tuition scholarship for one year to any accepted applicant who enrolls at the university’s traditional campus.



Geopolitical tensions between China and Australia, Canada, France, Sweden, and the United States will impact future enrollment of Chinese students in those countries. Sweden, for example, has cancelled the last of its Confucius Institutes.

Consumer behavior will determine future higher education enrollment. For example, in China, retail sales have plummeted about one-sixth in March from a year earlier.

If you want to know who may enroll this year and apply next year in your school, follow the consumer behavior patterns for each of your recruitment markets.

Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central bank, warned that the Eurozone’s economy could shrink by as much as 12% this year.

30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits by the end of April.

Shrinking economies worldwide and millions of unemployed workers will influence future enrollment of college and university students.

The National Governors Association has released a primer for states on how to handle college closures.

Will COVID-19 transform the university sector as the Black Death did in the Middle Ages? The plague that swept through Europe in the last 1340s ultimately led to a shift from a world view centered on theology to one that valued science.


The University of Alaska is furloughing its top officials, including the president, for 10 days.

Be careful who you invite for lunch. A Malaysian minister was fined $229 for eating with a group of colleagues and not observing social distancing.

Did you know that Rome turned 2,773 years old last week?

I learned a new word today: sitooterie – a small area where people sit outside.

I hope each of you has found, or will find, a suitable sitooterie.


NEXT BULLETIN                                                                           MAY 8,2020