The USA has been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has had to shut down a large part of the economy including educational institutions in an effort to maintain social distancing and fight against the virus.
This has been particularly worrisome for international students who were about to start a course or those who were in the middle of a course. Let’s find out COVID-19 impact on International students in the country.
Before we get into the details here are some statistics:
- USA is currently home to over 1.1 million international student
- They account for about 5.5% of the total student population in the country
COVID-19 Impact On International Students – Changes For Current Students
Schools with a large international student population have shifted to online classes for students currently enrolled in classes. Some universities have been completely shut down while the resident hall and apartments of others like the Texas A & M University are still open.
Theoretically, students can attend online classes from anywhere but they have to weigh the pros and cons of traveling back to their home country and staying in the USA with limited services. Many of the students who haven’t traveled back home fear the feasibility of returning once in-person classes resume.
America recently announced a 60-day ban on immigrants looking for permanent resident status in the USA. If this ban were to be extended, it would also affect the student’s future job prospects in the USA.
Technological barriers are another common reason cited for staying back in the USA. For example, students who live in remote areas may have trouble with a reliable internet connection.
Time zone differences may also make it difficult to attend online classes. Zoom, the video conferencing app being used by many universities is not available in all countries.
While 72% of the universities that accept international students have asked students to move out of campus housing, others have left the choice up to the students.
Students who have not been able to return home are being helped by the university to find alternative housing or are still being offered housing options on campus.
COVID-19 Impact On International Students – Changes For Prospective Students
Schools are still uncertain on when they will reopen for a fresh session. While some plan on reopening towards the end of 2020, others are planning to reopen only after February 2021.
A large number of schools have now given students a longer timeframe to respond to acceptance letters. While these letters are usually accepted only till May 1st, many schools are now giving students time till June 1st to respond.
In light of visa restrictions and the uncertainty of school sessions, educational institutions will have t fight harder to attract international students.
This may lead to more financial aid being offered. Since students may not be able to physically visit schools to explore the campus, more schools may offer virtual tours for international students.
The COVID-19 outbreak has put students in an unprecedented situation. Parents and students will have to be careful while considering the choice between joining the Ivy League college they’ve been admitted to and seeking admission in a college closer home.
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