Chinese students rethink studying abroad in the US

The Nikkei Asia has a lengthy article about how Chinese students are rethinking studying abroad in the USA due to COVID and tensions between the USA and China albeit Chinese students demand for overseas education remains strong. In fact, the latest report by QS, an international higher education network, showed only 4% of surveyed Chinese students canceled their study abroad plan because of COVID.

However, a survey by Nikkei, distributed among foreign student organizations on a number of US campuses, showed that 24% of respondents were considering leaving the US, citing visa policies and the Trump administration as the chief reasons. A further 35% described themselves as “maybe” considering leaving. Among the 6,673 survey responses collected from 34 provinces in China, 42% of Chinese students would choose the U.K. over any other country for overseas education, with 37% of responses saying the US is their top choice.

Nevertheless, one Chinese student was quoted as saying that most Chinese students view their U.S. education as a ticket to land a job and start a new life there as “otherwise, the quality of education in the U.S. alone cannot justify its high tuition fees.” The article also quoted one Chinese student as saying:

“Although I’ve been regretting coming to the U.S. there is no denying that the country still has the best schools, resources, and some of the best people.”

Chinese students have already transformed the entire business model of American higher education as U.S. universities have come to depend on international students – mainly from the wealthy Chinese middle-class – to fill budget holes. Since the 1990s, state governments have pared back spending on state universities. Now, full tuition-paying foreign students, one-third of which are Chinese, are making up the balance of revenues.

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