The months of March, April and May are a crucial period for Indian students who wish to pursue their higher studies in US. It is because the college application deadlines for fall 2020 for MS in US for most Indian students happen to fall in this time period. However, as the number of COVID 19 cases being reported across the world are increasing with each passing day, most of you who had plans to attend universities in the US in Fall 2020 must be now rethinking your decision to proceed with your MS admission in USA. The impact of COVID 19 on higher education is on every student’s mind who plans to study in USA. The following video will give you a better understanding of the same.

There has been a sudden spike in the number of countries affected by this deadly disease and America is no exception. With the rise in the number of COVID-19 affected patients in the US, the country, along with a lot of others has closed its gates to immigrant workers and students alike. Due to the recent travel restrictions, for a lot of students who have already secured an MS admission in USA for Fall 2020, the future may have started to look really bleak. This article aims to address your concerns regarding the impact of COVID on higher studies in US and put your mind at ease.

Every day, the financial team of WeMakeScholars interacts with hundreds of students who are either planning to enroll for various courses in US or have already completed their application process and are looking to fund their higher studies in US with the help of abroad education loans. A recent study conducted by our financial team helped us divide students into three different categories based on their plan of action in the current scenario.

Out of the total number of students who had registered, close to 25% chose to not go ahead with their plans of studying in US in Fall 2020. However, most of these students were either employed professionals or those who had already been placed. 20% of the students had already dropped their plans of applying to US universities for MS in Fall 2020.

The remaining 55% of students are still confused about the course of action that they expected to take regarding their higher studies in US. One major topic which concerns most of these students is the uncertainty of getting employed post their higher education in US. Recession is one of the major topics of concern for a lot of students who were looking forward to studying in US in Fall 2020. 

Recession post-COVID 19

With the heavy fluctuations in the stock market throughout the pandemic and a lot of countries going under mass lockdowns, many industries are expected to face financial woes once the cloud of this pandemic settles down. The promise of finding jobs with better salaries and the perks that come with them is what attracts a major percentage of Indian students to universities in US.

However, if the recession is what is stopping you from proceeding with your plans to join the university in Fall 2020, here is some information which may be useful for you. A recent study conducted by McKinsey & Co, a management consulting firm, revealed a list of certain industries which were most likely to be affected by the current economic crisis. This report indicated that while the tourism, travel and hotel industries were most likely to be affected by the current recession, industries like Education, Finance and Insurance or Professional, scientific and technical services were less likely to be affected on a long term basis and are expected to recover within no time.

This indicates that
the recession need not necessarily be a driving force for you to quit applying to universities in US. Besides, finding employment post your course should be the least of your worries while applying for universities in Fall 2020. It is more important to keep a track on the estimated number of admissions your university is more likely to receive for next year, now that international travel has been banned worldwide.

The Impact on Part-time Jobs Until the End of 2020

With the tourism & travel industry expected to take a financial hit this year, students who were planning to manage their living expenses with the help of part-time jobs could be disappointed. The looming recession may make it difficult for international students studying in US to find temporary jobs to cater for their living expenses. Students may have to cater for the same with the help of certain personal funds. However, this situation is only expected to last till the end of the year.

The Increase in Number of Application For MS Admission in USA

With a lot of students dropping out of their plans to study in US in Fall 2020, most of you may expect a surge in the number of applications next year. A lot of students who were unable to meet the application deadlines for Fall 2020 for MS in US, as well as those passing out in the year 2022 are more likely to make the competition tougher and that’s what you should be thinking of before postponing your plans to next year. Finding a job post your course should be the least of your concerns right now because getting enrolled for the same is more important. Students who have enrolled for postgraduate and undergraduate studies which generally go on for two or more years can definitely be rest assured that they would find employment as the market is expected to recover by the time they graduate.

Pursuing the First Semester Online For Fall 2020

This is another concern of many students who have already been accepted into universities in USA for Fall 2020. Students who had met the deadlines of universities for fall 2020 and have received their admission letter have been given the option of completing their first semester online. Universities have come up with this option so that students who have already enrolled for courses in Fall 2020 don’t lose half a year. Studying for six months online will have no adverse impact on any of the following factors:

  1. The final college transcripts
  2. Your degree certificate: it will mention that your course was full term.
  3. Requirements of a work visa post your course like OPT and such, will remain unchanged.

Most universities only allot subjects which do not involve a lot of practical or collective project works for online classes. Hence, you need not worry about the same. Another plus point of having online classes for a semester is that you get to save on the living expenses for that period abroad.

This is especially applicable to students who have enrolled in universities based out of cities like Boston, New York and San Francisco which are considered to be some of the costliest cities to live in for students. By attending an entire semester’s worth of classes helps students to curb the overall total cost of MS in USA for Indian students.

Impact on the US Student Visa Norms 

A majority of students who have received their admission letters are still concerned about getting their student visas. More importantly, they’re concerned about online classes hampering their chances of getting visas within the stipulated time. A decision is yet to be made in this matter by the US embassies in various countries and all the universities. However, the chances of students not getting their student visas despite being enrolled in courses in the USA are very less.

The impact of COVID 19 on higher education has become a growing concern for a lot of students who had plans of meeting the college application deadlines for Fall 2020 in US. In the times of such crisis, it is very difficult to have complete faith on the system. However, this pandemic is not here to stay and everybody is collectively working towards providing a decent environment for the world to progress. So before you put your higher education plans on hold, do give all of the above points a thought and then decide accordingly.

In the wake of this pandemic, students who were expected to attend universities are being offered a deferment by their respective universities in the USA. However, not all universities are allowing students to take a deferment. For example, the University of Arizona has asked all it’s students to re-apply next year instead of offering an extension. 

As mentioned earlier, due to travel restrictions, a lot of universities have asked students to either re-apply next year or defer their course to next year. If you drop your plans for this year, there are high chance that you may face tough competition due to the high volume of college applications for spring/fall 2022.

The next article in this series will guide you on “What happens to my education loan if I go for an online semester or if I defer?”

Note: WeMakeScholars is an organization funded and supported by the Government of India that focuses on International Education finance. We are associated with 10+ public/Pvt banks/ NBFCs in India and help you get the best abroad education loan matching your profile. As this initiative is under the Digital India campaign, it’s at free of cost. The organization has vast experience dealing with students going to various abroad education destinations like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, China, France among others.