The US higher education community has faced many challenges in the last few months due to political and pandemic issues. The country has overcome a few of those challenges. Still, there are a lot of perceived barriers for prospective students in the international education arena. Moreover, that could affect international students who want to study in the US. It could affect recruitment efforts shortly too.
The PIE Live Virtual Summit
In a panel discussion at the PIE live virtual summit, experts discussed the future of the US’s international education. They talked about the country’s current policies in the global education sector. They spoke about the current policies’ strengths and weaknesses. As per the panel of experts, a tough time lies ahead in the international education sector. As such, the USA universities and educators need to work diligently from now onwards.
The experts began their discussion with a congratulatory note for the ICE revoking the ban on the international students staying in the country if the courses were available online. Many international students were forced to leave the country due to this reason.
The revocation of the ban somewhere down the line reiterated that NAFSA – Association of International Educators is concerned about the international students’ future. Furthermore, they do have the guts to make a strong decision if necessary. It mobilized the entire community and did what was just and essential for international students. After all, why should international students suffer all the time?
The panel of commentators agreed on one fact. They have to do lots of work for international students as a team. Otherwise, international students may not be interested in studying in US Universities.
The concerns of the panel of experts are not unjustified. International students are suffering across the globe. Remote learning is not adequate in many cases, especially where students have to do practical assignments. Many countries are imposing strict rules when it comes to international students. The UK government has also withdrawn the government loan facility for EU students. This has sparked discontentment amongst the UK. The US government has promoted US higher education abroad in the recent past. They have done it so after realizing the importance of international education with regard to revenue.
More Work Needs to Be Done
Caroline Casagrande, Deputy assistant secretary for Academic Programs at the Department of State, recently gave a public statement on international education. She said that the administration had done tremendous work to establish the importance of higher education.
There are around six hundred and thirty American spaces around the world. The spaces are primarily community centers where the administration promotes US higher education to the prospective students. The goal is simple snd clear. It is to get as many students enrolled as possible.
The US administration wants students to realize that anyone can access US higher education at an affordable cost. How is that possible? It is a common question of the students.
Well, students can get access to US higher education from their home country. They do not have to come to the US. So, that will help international students to save money on travel and accommodation costs. Plus, they can access it from their own home country. So, all in all, US higher education is both attainable and accessible. The US higher education department has its center in various countries to make this possible.
Under President Donald Trump, the US administration has spent a fortune to promote US higher education in foreign countries. It has spent a record amount of money and created a history. The administration has done many new things to promote US higher education. As such, it would be a sheer waste of time and money if the US government imposes strict rules on international students now. All the efforts will go in vain.
The affordability of higher education is a matter of grave concern. The administration must focus on that. Casagrande stressed. She feels that no matter how much you promote US higher education, affordability matters for the students. The cost of education acts as a significant obstacle for the administration when increasing students’ numbers. So, the administration has made some significant decisions to give students financial relief and their families. If the cost is reasonable, then many students may be interested in studying at the US university. The administration is still looking for ways to make higher education affordable for students.
Attempts should be made to make international students understand one fact. The US higher education is not just about Harvard. There are various other universities in the US where students can pursue their higher education.
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Numerous Challenges Lie Ahead
Covid-19 has brought severe challenges for the US Education sector, mainly on the technological front. The US education sector switched to online education due to the pandemic. However, the problem began when they faced severe challenges in bringing all students together due to the different time zones.
It is tough to bring students from 120 countries online at the same time. The time zones are so different. Students faced immense problems due to the time clash issue. However, the US Education sector is positive. It is hoping that students can come to the US Universities and study there physically in the next fall. The US Education Department is eagerly waiting for the arrival of the next fall. They will give a warm welcome to students and make them feel cherished. They will spare no effort in making students understand the benefits of pursuing higher education in the US.
There is stiff competition amongst all the countries when it comes to offering higher education. Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK are trying their best to lure international students. But the US is facing the stiffest challenge due to the students’ and families’ perception that the country does not want to welcome international students.
The international students’ wrong perception creates a new obstacle or a barrier to the US education sector. Students consider other countries for higher studies instead of the US, which is unfortunate as the country has not sealed international borders. However, the US education sector is not ready to give up yet. They will fight to the finish.