India is the second largest sender of students to countries around the world. But admits for a blue-chip MBA or a cutting-edge programme on quantum computing mean nothing as candidates are unclear if campuses will open for the new academic year. Requests are going out from India seeking extension of fee payment deadlines.
Meanwhile, USA has asked its schools to exercise flexibility with international students. The Student and Exchange Visitor Programme released an advisory on Tuesday for educational institutes seeking information on whether a campus is temporarily shut or instructions are being given at an alternative campus or have moved online.
“There is tremendous uncertainty among students. Indian students have admits but they are not paying their enrolment deposits. In most cases, they are non-refundable and may be as high as US$5,000. Students are unsure about whether the city they are flying to will be safe or not. First it was Singapore, now Europe and the USA,” said Karan Gupta, a counsellor who works with students who wish to study abroad.
In a new survey of 2,000-plus students from Africa, Asia, and Australasia by QS, nearly 3 in 10 (27%) said their plans had changed due to the virus while a much greater proportion (61%) said their plans were not affected as yet. As many as 37% said their plans had changed and the outbreaks have made them decide to defer their entry until next year while 33% said they will now choose an alternate destination. Just over 11% of those whose plans had changed said they no longer wished to study abroad.
Param Jain, who passed out of Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, has multiple admits from campuses spanning three countries: Spain, USA and the UK. “I have asked the universities to extend the deadline for payment of enrolment fees. They have offered an extension till the end of March,” he said.
Campuses are going quiet. Most have moved online. Travel advisories have been issued and conferences, athletic meets, immersion trips and industry experiences called off. Many Chinese students may be unable to apply as GMAT centres shut in China.
“Students are mostly delaying taking visas till June,” said Pratibha Jain, another counsellor. Students said unofficial messages from universities state entry may be delayed by a month.
Some schools have said if the enrolment deposit is paid, it would be refunded or admission could be deferred by a semester or a year.
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