The majority of US universities (86%) who took part in a new snapshot survey from IIE are planning some type of in-person study in fall 2021.
The fourth report in the IIE’s Covid-19 Snapshot Survey Series looked at the impact of the pandemic on international student enrolment and study abroad in the United States one year after it started.
The study found that for the 2021/22 academic year, 43% of institutions reported an increase in international student applications, nearly double the increase reported a year previously.
“As they emerge from the epidemic, universities are preparing for a significant recovery in international education enrolment,” said Mirka Martel, IIE’s head of research, evaluation, and learning.
“We anticipate a staged recovery, depending on immunizations and travel restrictions. However, US higher education institutions are making a deliberate effort to reopen their campuses and urge all students, including international students, to return to in-person study.”
The fourth survey was sent to US higher education institutions from April 15 to May 5, 2021, and 414 institutions responded.
The institutions represented 44% of all international students at US institutions in 2019/20 and US study abroad students in 2018/19.
Universities were asked what they expected in terms of the form of instruction for both domestic and international students in the survey.
“The notable change here compared to where we were this time last year is that no institutions anticipate offering entirely virtual education this fall,” Martel added.
Institutions that expect to restart in-person study are more likely to mandate immunizations, according to the survey, though they are equally likely to have not made a final decision. Only 14% of institutions stated that they have a current vaccine need.
According to the report, the findings were in accordance with the American Council on Education’s latest snapshot survey of college and university presidents, which revealed that about 12% of institutions will require the vaccine for students and 44% will not.
Even though vaccines are not required, more than half (64%) of the reporting schools and universities plan to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to students, professors, and staff on campus.
Over half (52%) of the reporting schools and universities reported a fall in application numbers in May 2020, whereas only 38% reported a decrease in 2021. According to the survey, “the remaining institutions reported similar numbers to last year.”
“There were certain distinctions based on the type of institution. For example, more than half of the doctoral universities that responded to the survey (59%) estimated a rise in applications. Most associate’s colleges, on the other hand, reported a decline in applications (58%).”
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