US universities ready to turn the page in 2021, expect surge in foreign students

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With a new administration set to take over, and Coronavirus vaccination drive commencing across the US, American universities expect a surge in foreign students enrolling for various courses from next year, experts told a webinar on Friday.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted international student enrollments to US universities, with the number lower by -43% for fall 2020. Universities are also seeing more deferrals, estimated at 40,000 in fall season, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is pent up demand, we expect a surge in student enrollments to US universities when it becomes safe to travel again.

We see students getting visas from January,” said B. Vincent Milam, Assistant Director, International Recruitment at into Washington State University.

He was speaking at a webinar on “USA continues to be preferred destination for students”, organised by the Gujarat Branch of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC).

According to the Open Doors 2020 Report on International Educational Exchange, more than 1.93 lakh Indian students went to the US for studies in 2019-20, about 4% lower than the previous year. Indian students account for 18% of foreign enrollments at US universities, the second highest after China.

The US education system is also upbeat about the positive impact incoming US president Joe Biden, a staunch supporter of immigration, on foreign student enrollments.

“Joe Biden is a huge proponent of immigration. He has announced reforms in the visa system, and to eliminate travel bans on immigration.

From the perspective of US universities and foreign students, the future is bright. We are ready to turn the page to 2021,” he said.

Alden Williams, Assistant Director, International Marketing & Recruitment at into University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), gave a presentation about the university, the various courses it offers, the career prospects for students, and other aspects.

“There are a large number of Indian students at UAB, which is one of the safest places to be in the US at this time considering its excellent public health infrastructure. We are expecting higher student enrollments that usual from January,” she said.

The experts also took several questions from the participants.

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The session was moderated by Shailesh Goyal, Chairman, IACC, Gujarat Branch, while Pankaj Bohra, Chairman, Western India Council of IACC, gave the vote of thanks. The program was supported by Indo-American Education Society (IAES) and Education USA.