86% of US Universities Plan Return to In-Person Teaching in Fall 2021: IIE Survey

By Cyril Zachariah Updated On - Jun 14, 2021 05:42 PM

In a recent survey in the IIE’s COVID-19 Snapshot Survey Series, the institute was able to shed light on the effects of the pandemic on the international student exchange programmes in the US. The report revealed a positive outlook on the future of international education in the country while highlighting the effects of the pandemic.

In the fourth edition of the IIE Survey, i.e. COVID-19 Snapshot Survey Series, the institute released its revelations on the effects of COVID-19 on international education exchange, to and from the US. As per the results, US institutions seem highly engaged in bringing students back on campus, including international students, especially for some kind of in-person study for the Fall 2021 session.

Mirka Martel, the Head of Research, Evaluation and Learning at IIE, stated that US Universities have been preparing for a strong recovery in the international student enrollment post-pandemic. She expects the recovery to be completed in phases, along with the vaccination and travel regulations that may be imposed. However, it should be noted that the US Higher Education Institutions are dedicated to reopening their campuses, encouraging both domestic and international students to participate in the in-person classes.

Through the survey, the institute requested the respondents to evaluate the COVID-impact on US Higher Education Institutes and the global student mobility, to and from the US.

Also Read: University of Hawaii to Allow Fully-Vaccinated International Students On-Campus for Fall 2021 Semester

The revelations shed light on the impact of the pandemic on the international student exchange programmes for Spring 2021, plans for Fall 2021 and beyond along with Key Learning from COVID-19 that the HEI’s will use to support the international students post-pandemic.

Here are the key learnings from the survey, i.e. “Preparing for the Future: The Path Forward for International Education Exchange”:

  • International Student Enrolment Increases: 43% of the respondents reported a hike in their international student applications for the 2021-22 academic year, compared to the previous year. Some reveal almost double the number of the previous year.

  • Resuming In-Person Classes: 86% of the respondents reveal that they will be offering some kind of in-person study for Fall 2021. Additionally, the institutions also revealed that the offer of only virtual learning will now no longer be available. 90% of the institutions also revealed their plans of offering in-person classes to international students as well.

  • Vaccination Regulations Under Development: With the availability of Vaccines increasing, 64% of the institutions are planning to offer vaccines to all students, staff and faculty on campus. 45% of the institutions do not require their students to be vaccinated before arriving on campus, only 14% of the institutions require the students to be vaccinated mandatorily.

  • Recruitment a Priority Still: Institutions continue to prioritise the outreach programmes for international students, with 73% opting for online recruitment events, 68% opting to work with current international students on different campuses while 65% are also opting for social media.

  • In-Person Study Abroad Improves: 49% of the institutions have planned for in-person study abroad for Fall 2021, which is expected to jump to 54% by Spring 2022 while prioritising the safety of the students, staff and faculty.

  • Hopes for Study Abroad Increases: 50% of the respondents are expecting to witness an increase in the study abroad numbers in the 2021-22 academic year. Last year, 97% of the institutions were expecting a further decline in the enrolment numbers, thus signifying an impressive improvement.

The fourth rendition of the survey has highlighted a hopeful and positive outlook towards the international education sector in the US. The IIE Preparing for the Future: The Path Forward for International Education was based on data collected from 414 Higher Education institutions between April 15 and May 5th 2021.

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Included in the survey were IIE Network institutions which is a membership network consisting of more than 7,000 professionals at 1,300 HEI’s from around the world. The survey also included respondents from the Open Doors 2020 Report on International Educational Exchange.

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