Foreign students believe COVID-19 will make US less welcoming

Foreign students believe COVID-19 will make US less welcoming

Half of all prospective foreign students expect the COVID-19 pandemic to make US society less welcoming for them, a WES study has found.

A new study by the World Education Services (WES) found that a staggering 50% of all prospective international students currently expect the global Coronavirus pandemic to negatively impact the openness that US society has to international students.

The findings came as part of a study of prospective international students and American higher education professionals. The WES report, entitled ‘How Is COVID-19 Impacting International Higher Education in the United States?’, was published earlier this month with the intention of gaining a better understanding of the impact that coronavirus has had on American HEIs.

67% of foreign students surveyed still intend to study in US despite COVID-19

Despite the above statistic, the majority of prospective international students surveyed (67%) stated that they still intend to pursue a course of higher education in the US, and that this intention has not been swayed in any way by the pandemic.

Although these prospective students stated a range of potential contingency options that they were considering for their education, there was considerable tension when it came to the matter of studying online.

Nearly a third of international students stated that they would not enroll in their intended course if they were only offered online modes of study for the 2020 term.

A further 30% of students said that they remain unsure how they would respond to this situation.

Of the higher education professionals surveyed, 39% said that they are completely unsure whether or not remote learning will continue at their institution for Fall 2020.

This comes after the revoked announcement from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement that international students would not be permitted to remain in the US if they took all of their classes online.

Over 70% of international education professionals expect international student enrolment decline

More than half of the respondent higher education professionals predicted that America’s HEIs will make changes with the aim of bolstering international student enrollment numbers.

The predicted changes include offering more flexible admissions deadlines (anticipated by 60% of professionals) and by making some or all standardized tests optional (54%).

However, the overwhelming majority of international education professionals (over 70%) stated that they expect to see declining international student enrollment at their institutions this academic year.

Furthermore, 37% of these academics are extremely concerned about the impact that COVID-19 will have on their institution’s budget for employing staff and faculty, while 35% are worried about the way that the overall financial health of their institution will be affected.

Pic: Joseph Chan

Josephine Walbank - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.

Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.

You can reach her at

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