With $15 billion at stake, American universities are concerned that they may see a decrease in the number of Chinese students seeking an American education in the 20-21 school year because of the coronavirus.
The South China Morning Post reports that the COVID-19 virus has forced Chinese students to face difficulties on the scheduling of entrance exams, travel restrictions and not knowing when, or if, classes will reopen.
If Chinese students withdraw from U.S. universities, the effect would be severe. According to Statista, there were 369,548 Chinese students in the U.S. in 2019 – an increase from just 98,235 in 2008.
Combined with encountering problems with the duration of their visas and an increase in visa refusals before the pandemic took effect, COVID-19 may sound a death knell for Chinese enrollment in American colleges and universities.
International friction also has arisen in American campuses, where Chinese students’ Confucius Institutes, feared to be a source of espionage, have been closed down in two dozen American colleges.
The Post cites a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission predicting that Chinese enrollment is due to decrease. Given that Chinese students contribute $15 million in tuition to American schools, the effects could be dire.
According to the report, China contributes more students to the US education system than any other country.
Should Chinese students withdraw from American colleges and universities, Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, told The Washington Post, “the impact of having these students turn away would be pretty dramatic.”