Study Solutions for Fall Enrolment Under COVID-19

New York University Shanghai has rented 7 floors of WeWork to welcome the 3,100 Chinese students who were going to study at the New York and Abu Dhabi campus, but have re-grouped in Shanghai, including 2,300 undergraduate students and 800 postgraduates. They will be joining the 1,700 NYU Shanghai Branch undergraduates and 210 postgraduates (approx. half Chinese half international). NYU Shanghai is planning to deliver 200+ undergraduate subjects and 40 postgraduate subjects to meet the demand of this more-than-doubled cohort. 

Even universities who don’t have a foot in China are finding ways to enrol Chinese students and deliver courses to their doorstep. Cornell University first suggested newly enrolled Chinese students to start their learning through its arrangements with 7 associated Chinese universities located in Beijing and Shanghai, including well-known universities such as Tsinghua and Peking, also less internationally recognized universities such as China Agricultural University and Donghua University. This arrangement is being followed by Lehigh University, University of Illinois and University of Connecticut and a number of others.

Universities have also gone out of their way to get international students back to campus whenever possible. Queens University Belfast has chartered two flights through Qatar Air to bring 300+ Chinese students directly back to the UK in September, with an unbeatable price of 616 Pounds with no out of pocket quarantine expense. Observing UK universities on Chinese social media, at least 13 other UK universities are either in detailed discussion or have started discussing bringing Chinese students back to campus through chartered flights. These universities include the University of Glasgow, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, University of Leeds, etc. According to the Guardian, out of the 92 UK universities who participated in a survey in late June, almost all of them (97%) plan to offer in-person learning. In Australia, a proposal for in-person classes was put forward by Australia National University and the University of Canberra, but not granted due to the rise in infectious numbers. Meanwhile, ANU announced it has set up a “study hub” to encourage students to gather in Shanghai, supported by the university’s financial subsidies. 

In contrast to the US’s threat of student visa cancellations if there is no face-to-face learning conducted, Canada welcomed students to arrive on campus even if it’s just for online learning. Some Canadian Universities offered accommodation concessions for the coming fall. The US eventually revoked their earlier policy after massive panic ensued and lawsuits were filed. It is predicted that if this policy did go ahead, the losses would have been in the billions. There are approx. 370,000 Chinese studying in the US (2018-19), followed by 200,000 Indians. 

Within China, at least 75% of universities have a clear schedule for students to return back to campus by the end of August/early Sept, or at least prepare for a mixed online/offline learning model. A small percentage of universities have taken extra precautions and decided to take a 100% online learning model for certain groups. In a number of cities, students returning to campus are expected to live in a sealed campus environment.

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