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A woman sits overlooking Columbia University’s nearly empty campus, in New York A woman sits overlooking Columbia University’s nearly empty campus, in New York, March 9, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Lennihan).

Higher Education Is in Trouble, and Not Just Because of the Coronavirus

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

On university and college campuses, it’s been a back-to-school season like none other. COVID-19 outbreaks have forced entire residence halls and sports teams to quarantine, and, for some institutions, could prompt a premature end to the semester. Other campuses are ghost towns, as instruction has moved completely online. The pandemic has transformed teaching and learning, how research is conducted⎯the very rhythms of campus life.

The contagion’s impact on international education has been especially acute. With closed borders, shuttered consulates and airline restrictions, study abroad and foreign exchange programs have been canceled, while the United States is all but off-limits for new international students. Some have chosen to take classes online, but many have put off their studies. No other demographic group has experienced such deep enrollment declines this fall, according to preliminary data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, an education policy think tank. Estimates suggest as many as a quarter of international students could be missing in action in the 2020 academic year. ...

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