GME: Today & Tomorrow Spring 2020

Not even the economic ramifications can be completely documented. With specialized knowledge in artificial intelligence and other high-tech areas increasingly representing a prerequisite for success in today’s global economy, American businesses across industries depend on academic institutions to strengthen their talent pipeline with the highest-achieving students from around the world. Accordingly, institutions like Santa Clara University are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and taking steps to minimize its damage. Santa Clara’s graduate business programs — which last year enrolled 50 new students from China — are working on a case-by-case basis to meet the needs of Chinese students who were unable to take February’s graduate entrance exams, including by allowing them to apply late if needed. Meanwhile, Santa Clara’s International Students & Scholars Department has communicated to all international students on campus that the institution will support them in any way possible during this challenging time. Moving forward, colleges and universities can introduce a number of specific strategies to offset the impact of declining enrollment from China. These include developing closer relationships with local community colleges or smaller colleges that serve large numbers of international students; cultivating and/ or subsidizing international student alumni networks, including by sponsoring events where alumni can interact with prospective international students; and expanding recruitment efforts in under-represented countries from an enrollment perspective, particularly Latin America and Africa. In fact, this month’s CGS report documents the second consecutive year of substantial growth in graduate applications (11%) and first-time enrollments (22%) from sub-Saharan African students to U.S. graduate schools. Even amid a confounding public health episode that often feels out of academic institutions’ control, colleges and universities cannot afford to fall short in the quest to maintain robust international enrollment. Our campuses have an urgent responsibility first to understand the gravity of the coronavirus crisis, and subsequently, to implement creative solutions.

Originally published in The Mercury News



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