Policy & Economy

Universities Addicted to Foreign Student Fees Face Covid-19 Reckoning

Lock-downs, travel restrictions and quickly changing government policies as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic have disrupted the lucrative international higher education market at risk. When the coronavirus outbreak triggered travel bans during the Lunar New Year holidays, about 100,000 Chinese students were stranded at home and unable to return to Australia.

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and UK are all major exporters of higher education and some institutions rely heavily on the multi-billion dollar international student market to finance their higher education systems, including many of the world’s top-ranked universities. With about one in six international students hailing from China, the upheaval has highlighted the risks of over-relying on the world’s second-largest economy — an issue the education industry will have to confront once it emerges from the crisis.

A potential beneficiary from the crisis are domestic universities inside major sending countries like China, Malaysia, South Korea and India, which may be able to attract a greater number of students and the commensurate tuition fee income and talent.

Read the complete analysis from Bloomberg.

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