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How international universities are dealing with enrollment and intake of Indian students

Apr 29, 2020, 10:55 IST
Business Insider India

  • Many top universities have turned flexible with student intake, and lowered criteria to increase the number of falling foreign students, Akshay Chaturvedi, founder and CEO of Leverage Edu told Business Insider in an interview.
  • However, nearly 50% of the students look to defer foreign university admission.
  • To attract international students, higher education platforms and universities are now teaming up to conduct webinars, virtual university tours — allowing students to meet the school representatives for one-on-one conversations.
  • Ravneet Pawha, deputy VP at Deakin University Australia says that most universities are giving provisional offers, allowing the students to enroll fully once the entrances and other exam results are out.
The Coronavirus pandemic has played spoilsport on what could have been the best year for Indians students to study abroad. Many top universities have turned flexible with student intake, and lowered criteria to increase the number of falling foreign students.

“A lot of top schools have lowered the eligibility criteria slightly. They are giving GMAT, GRE waivers in terms of scores, extending deadlines etc. And this has never happened before in the last 20-25 years,” Akshay Chaturvedi, founder and CEO of online higher education platform Leverage Edu told Business Insider in an interview.

‘Nearly 50% of the students look to defer foreign university admission’

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This year, half of applicants received a seat and most of them had even paid admission fees, according to a recent survey by Shiksha. But now these students are having second thoughts. They are concerned about health and other restrictions and choosing to delay plans to travel abroad for education, due to the Coronavirus scare.

Nearly 50% of the students are considering the possibility of deferring to the future. Ravneet Pawha, deputy VP at Deakin University Australia believes that while the students are considering deferring their international study plans, the sentiment is ‘okay’.

“Around the world, this is the time that students are finalising their destination, applying to universities. But this whole lockdown situation has changed the mindset of parents and students to think of international education. Having said that, students are wanting to defer but not cancel plans,” she said.
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The Great Lockdown effect

The delay in admissions and classes at the university level is not encouraging either. While many universities have shifted to online classes for even full-time courses for the current semester, students are preferring to defer to next year to enroll in the January 2021 batch because they are still unsure of the online model.

“There will be a downturn in international students this year. Universities have already delayed the start of the September cohort. At this juncture, nobody would want to go,” Nitish Jain, President at SP Jain School of Global Management told Business Insider.
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To attract international students, higher education platforms and universities are now teaming up to conduct webinars, virtual university tours — allowing students to meet the school representatives for one-on-one conversations.

“We are getting universities to do webinars every single day and we are directly connecting the applicants to the universities. Universities are also playing on frontfoot. They are ensuring students that, if for the worse the situation does not get better anytime soon, the classes would be conducted online throughout,” Akshay said.

Universities extend provisional offers - before entrance exams


For those applying to undergraduate colleges, the hurdle has come from exams itself, which have been delayed. And, final year students are awaiting their results. Students are not preparing for any exam that cannot be given online, and they are definitely not sitting for the international entrances like GMAT, GRE or TOEFL.
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In fact, many test centers across the globe have also closed down in the wake of Coronavirus. These test scores are necessary for graduate school admissions.

Universities are now going the extra mile to woo students back.

Pawha says that most universities are giving provisional offers, allowing the students to enroll fully once the entrances and other exam results are out. “You can start studying online, paying for one or two subjects for now and by August end, you can submit their final results,” she added.
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For instance, INSEAD recently became the first B-school that allowed aspiring MBAs to apply without test results.

In spite of the many efforts, it looks like students will decide on their plans to study abroad only after the rate of infection ebbs.

See also:

IIM Calcutta’s 'Covidian' batch of MBA students kick off classes digitally
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