May 17, 2022

New Report, Data: “IE Releases Survey on Effects of COVID-19 on International Students and Study Abroad”

From the Institute of International Education (IIE):

survey released today by the Institute of International Education (IIE) shows the effects that travel restrictions related to the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) are having on international student mobility, U.S. study abroad programs, and international student recruitment for the fall 2020 semester. More than 230 U.S. higher education institutions responded to this survey, which was conducted from February 13-26, 2020. While this survey focused on the effects of the outbreak in China, future surveys on the effects of coronavirus will address more recent developments and spread of the disease in other countries.

International Students

  • 37 percent of institutions reported that some students were unable to come or return to the U.S. campus from China because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
    • Of those institutions, 100 percent reported being in contact with those students to discuss flexible study or distance learning, leaves of absence, refunds, or other opportunities.
  • 76 percent of institutions reported that outreach or recruiting events in China had been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including in-person tests, recruitment events, and other engagements.
    • Institutions are responding by leveraging virtual communications and webinars, offering online language testing in lieu of in-person tests, waving graduate entrance testing requirements, extending application deadlines, and offering deferrals.
    • 20 percent of institutions do not yet have plans for alternative recruitment, although they are aware this may affect enrollment for the 2020/21 academic year.

Study Abroad

  • 21 percent of institutions reported enrolled students on study abroad programs in China when the coronavirus-related travel restrictions went into effect.
    • The majority (70 percent) of those institutions reported that those students had been or were being evacuated.1
  • 48 percent of respondents reported that their institutions had students scheduled to go on study abroad programs in China in the spring 2020 semester.
    • Of those, 94 percent had postponed or cancelled those programs, with 76 percent canceled outright or postponed indefinitely.
    • 48 percent of institutions reported that students whose study abroad programs to China were affected were placed in programs in other destinations.
    • Taiwan, Singapore, and Vietnam were among the most common destinations in Asia for placements. Outside Asia, many students were placed in programs in Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in Europe.
    • 30 percent of institutions reported that students had postponed their study abroad plans to later in 2020 and 29 percent did not yet know what students’ plans were.

Read the Complete News Release

Direct to Full Text Report
10 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.