THE IMPACT AND THE OPPORTUNITIES OF COVID- 19 ON HIGHER EDUCATION

Marguerite DennisINFORMATION FOR PRESIDENTS, VICE-CHANCELLORS, PROVOSTS, ACADEMIC
DEANS, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICERS, CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICERS, DIRECTORS
OF HEALTH AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS, ENROLLMENT MANAGERS,
INTERNATIONAL DEANS AND RECRUITERS, FINANCIAL AID OFFICERS, CAREER
COUNSELORS, LIFELONG LEARNING COUNSELORS, ALTERNATIVE EDUCATIONAL
PROVIDERS, EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS AND AGENTS

BULLETIN # 33 NOVEMBER 16-20, 2020

MARGUERITE J. DENNIS

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
Amelia Earhart, American aviator

U.S. INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLLMENT NUMBERS
The Institute of International Education released their annual statistical report of
international student enrollment in the United States.
After four interminable years of unprecedented chaos and the worst pandemic
response in the world, it should surprise no one that the number of international
students enrolling on U.S. colleges and universities declined (again) last year.
Highlights
New international students enrolled either online or in person declined 43%
according to a survey of more than 700 schools. This is the largest decrease since
IIE began publishing data in 1954.
Total enrollment of new and returning students decreased 16%.

China and India represent the biggest declines.
International students enrolled in American high schools declined 15%. Chinese
high school student enrollment declined 30%.
In 2019 the international students contributed $39 billion to the American
economy, a decrease of 4% from the previous year.
Fewer international students resulted in 9% fewer employees nationwide.
40,000 international students deferred enrollment in the U.S. for the fall 2020
semester.
For the past 5 years the annual enrollments of new international students have
declined. In 2015-16, new international student enrollment was 300,743. In 2019-
20, the number was 267,712, a decrease of 11%.
Surveys will be taken and data will be gathered, before any accurate prediction
can or should be made about the future of international student enrollment in
the U.S. But analysts and researchers know that the percentage of international
students enrolling in the United States has been in decline for several years and it
will take more than a new president and administration in Washington to reverse
that trend.
The rest of the higher education world has caught up with the U.S. with lower
tuitions, well- funded university and research facilities, national branding
campaigns, and a steady climb in worldwide rankings. International students have
more choices than ever before.
But we can predict with some accuracy that in the future U.S. colleges and
universities can no longer count on international students to meet enrollment
and financial goals nor can they count on a single supply chain (China) of students.
Recruitment, admission and enrollment practices will have to change, guided by
consumer behavior and post-pandemic realities.
The U.S. will have to re-brand itself as a country welcoming international students
and scholars. The country will have to reassure international students and parents
that the U.S. is a safe and secure country for study and research and work
opportunities after graduation.

Note: I have written an article about the reimagined international student office
and it will be published by University World News this month. The article lays out
a road map of how colleges and universities could structure their international
student offices and services in a post-pandemic world.
World Economic News
In my book, International Student Mobility and the New World Disorder, I make
the case for the interconnectedness of the world’s economies and international
student mobility.
I believe this will be even more evident in the post-pandemic world.
Consider:
An OECD report released in September revealed the world’s economy shrinking
4.5% this year. Only China is on track to do what no other country was able to do:
grow its economy.
China’s economy was 4.9% larger in the July-September quarter than it was a year
ago. By contrast, Canada’s economy was 3.8% smaller and the U.S. economy was
3.5% smaller than a year ago.
China’s share of global trade increased nearly 17% this year according to National
Bank economists. And this month, China, along with 15 other countries, signed
the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, creating a vast
free trade framework to help countries recover from the pandemic and promote
trade within the region. For example, the agreement will remove tariffs on 86% of
Japan’s exports to China.
Among the countries who signed on to the partnership are: Japan, South Korea,
Australia and New Zealand. Together, the countries in the agreement account for
30% of the world’s GDP.
China is also leveraging its existing Belt and Road Initiative to provide medical
equipment, supplies, and treatment as part of a new “Health Silk Road.”
The EU, as well as the U.S., should consider this Asia-Pacific trade pact as a wake-
up call. And higher education chief executives should not underestimate the

impact of international trade agreements on future international student mobility
and enrollment.
Final note and word of the week
Seven Seas Worldwide, a leader in international relocation. has published a guide
to assist international students on what they should consider about evolving
health protocols and travel restrictions. Further information can be obtained on
their website.
Word-of-the Week – Nisus- great effort. Example: I put great nisus into these
weekly bulletins.

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