Survey Shows Coronavirus Has Heavily Impacted Recruitment Efforts in China


Travel to and from China — the largest source of international students globally — has been heavily restricted since January as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). To better understand the impact the virus has had on the recruitment efforts of US universities, the Institute of International Education (IIE) conducted a survey on academic student mobility to and from China.

The findings from the survey—Academic Student Mobility to and from China— show that the majority (76 percent) of institutions’ outreach and recruitment efforts to prospective students in China had been affected. Specifically, more than half (51 percent) of responding institutions had cancelled recruitment activities in China.

Other impacts, including “students not being able to obtain official transcripts for applications due to school closures, students not being able to attend visa interviews, and US schools not being able to work with local recruitment agents and agencies,” were also noted in the survey report.

The survey, released March 5, is part of a series, which will include additional countries as the situation unfolds globally.

Responses from 234 institutions in 43 states were included, indicating a broad representation of US higher education institutions. In 2018-19, these institutions hosted 175,398 students from China, accounting for 47 percent of the total population of Chinese students in the United States.

To find out more about the impacts on recruitment, study abroad in China, and supporting Chinese students on campus, read the full report.

Lindsay Addington is NACAC’s director of global engagement. You can reach her at