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HEI’s Report Optimism on Return of International Students

HEI’s Report Optimism on Return of International Students

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The Institute of International Education (IIE) did its 4th COVID-19 Snapshot Survey, examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international student recruitment to and from the US. 

The survey found that 86% of the US institutions are focusing on in-person learning in Fall 2021. But, surprisingly, none of these institutions has an intention to offer online instruction only.

According to the report, 90% of all institutions in the US plan to give in-person learning to all international students. Forty-three percent of these institutions have increased international student applications for the SY 2021-2022, doubling its numbers from the previous year. 

Based on the institution type, a notable 59% increase in applications of doctoral universities was reported, while community college applications had a 58% decline.

“We anticipate the recovery to come in phases, tied to vaccinations and travel guidelines. But there is definitely a concerted effort by US higher education institutions to re-open their campuses and encourage all students, including international students, to return to in-person study,” said Mirka Martel, the Head of Research, Evaluation and Learning at IIE.

With the ongoing pandemic, all institutions are exerting efforts on online recruitment events (73%), as well as working with other students in other campuses (68%) and through social media (65%). Sixty-four percent of the institutions also plan to provide COVID-19 vaccines to incoming international students and their faculty and staff. However, less than half of the institutions don’t intend to require a COVID-19 vaccine before arrival at the campus.

“With vaccination rates on the rise in the United States, we note concerted efforts by US higher education institutions to re-open their campuses and encourage all students, including international students, to return to in-person study,” as mentioned in the Open Doors 2020 Report, in which 414 institutions completed this survey.

Since many institutions are very cautious in accepting foreign enrollees due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, they are currently waiting to decide about the future terms, with 34% in the Fall 2021 intake and 43% in the Spring 2022 intake.

The survey spanned from April 15 to May 5, 2021, with the participation of 1,300 higher education institutions (HEIs) and organizations. 

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