COVID-19 Impact on International Higher Education: Studies & Forecasts

Last update: June 29th 2020

Such an astonishing number of analyses and forecasts have already been published on the possible COVID-19 impact on international higher education that it is easy to lose track. Therefore, the DAAD wants to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of COVID-19 research and expertise in the field of international higher education. Should you know of any other analyses and forecasts that are not mentioned here, we would be pleased to receive a brief note at




Impact of COVID-19 on HE internationalisation and international academic mobility worldwide 

QS, and StudyPortals are currently conducting three international surveys of students and prospective students on the COVID-19 impact on their study or mobility plans.

QS Surveys

QS is not only interviewing prospective international students, but also university staff. Previous results of the QS surveys can be found in these reports published so far:

  • (18.06.2020)
  • (26.05.2020)
  • (08.05.2020)
  • (04.05.2020)
  • (28.04.2020)
  • (02.04.2020) 

The latest QS findings are also repeatedly presented in the form of . The findings of the surveys are also repeatedly summarised on the .


Studyportals Surveys and Dashboard

At the end of May, Studyportals published the summary report "" on their surveys of around 800 internationally mobile and non-mobile students worldwide. Earlier publications of the results of the Studyportals surveys can be found here:

  • (April 2020)
  • (Update 3, April 2020)
  • (Update 2, April 2020)
  • (Update 1, April 2020)

However, a certain amount of caution is recommended with regard to the findings, since the number of interviews is very low for an international student survey (about 400, 600 and 800 respondents, respectively).

In April, Studyportals also published the "", which was based on a survey among higher education professionals from 170 institutions worldwide.

Furthermore, Studyportals has opened its to all users free of charge. Here, among other things, the effect of the COVID-19 epidemic on students' search queries to studyportals can be analysed. 

The latest Studyportals findings are also repeatedly presented in the form of . The findings of the surveys are also repeatedly summarised on the . Surveys

The results of the survey, which is also still ongoing, can be found here:

  • (24.04.2020)
  • (23.03.2020)

As with QS, prospective international students were surveyed, as well as current international students.

Further cross-national surveys 

The consultancy EY Parthenon has produced a yet unpublished analysis entitled "COVID-19 crisis: Planning towards the new normal - International Higher Education Market", which was reported by Times Higher Education at the end of June (""). The original report was made available to the DAAD on request.

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) conducted a in March on their experiences in connection with the corona pandemic. A webinar explaining the findings can be accessed

In April, the Australian Educational Consulting Agency IDP interviewed about the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic on their mobility plans. A summary of the most important findings can be found at the and the .

A further (in the EHEA) or their staff was conducted by the European Association of International Education (EAIE) in February and March 2020. 

ResearchGate has also conducted on its platform and has already published findings.


Impact of COVID-19 on HE internationalisation and international academic mobility in specific countries or regions



Fintiba, a private consulting agency for international students interested in Germany as a host country, published a in mid-May. This shows: Most students are still very interested in studying in Germany. The study was also reported on by , among others.



The British Council, DAAD's sister organisation in the UK, has also already conducted a . Similar to the IIE, the focus here is on Chinese students who represent by far the largest group among international students in the UK. The more than 10,000 respondents in this survey included Chinese students who are already studying in the UK as well as Chinese applicants at British universities.



Nuffic, the DAAD's sister organisation in the Netherlands, published the findings of a survey of over 900 "potential" international students from outside the EU in their report "" at the end of May. 



The Institute for International Education (IIE), DAAD's sister organization in the US, has conducted two "Snapshot Surveys" on the COVID-19 impact at US universities and has published the findings here:

  • (14.05.2020)
  • (06.03.2020)

In addition, the IIE has published in the US and Canada and on international student mobility. You can find the

Diversity Abroad, a US organization that promotes diversity in international student mobility, published a and their perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.



The Australian Population Research Institute published the report "" Among other things, the report forecasts that the number of international students in Australia will decline by approximately 50% by mid 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most important findings of the report were also .



The Chinese umbrella organizations of educational guidance agencies, BOSSA and COSSA, conducted two surveys on the COVID-19 impact on student mobility in China:


India and South Asia

The private consulting agency Global Reach conducted a previously unpublished survey of around 1,600 prospective international students from South Asia (India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka), which was reported in mid-June in The Piew News ("").

There are also several surveys available for Indian (prospective) students on the COVID-19 impact on their plans abroad. QS published the report "" in May, which is based on a survey of current Indian students. Unfortunately, the report does not contain any information on the number of respondents.

In addition to this, there are two surveys of private Consulting Agencies. The central findings of the survey by Yocket are presented , the survey results of Shiksha are available and .


Impact of COVID-19 on higher education and students in general


Global and cross-national analyses

At the end of June, Times Higher Education published the findings of its , for which 200 university leaders from a total of 53 countries worldwide were asked about their experiences and assessments of the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics of the survey included the experience with digital teaching, the political support of the respective governments and the effects on university funding, university marketing, university staff and research. The

In May, the International Association of Universities (IAU) published their survey report "". The survey analysis is based on replies from administrative staff at 424 HEIs in 109 countries. Results are analysed both at the global level and at the regional level in four regions of the world (Africa, the Americas, Asia & Pacific and Europe). IAU also collects , sorted by different world regions (see tab "Global News").

The Systemic Risk Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science published the discussion paper "". The paper attempts to predict the impact of the corona pandemic on societal attitudes and views towards scientists and science itself. Times Higher Education has summarised the .

The Boston College Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) published in early May, focusing on the many challenges relating to the COVID-19 crisis, how it is affecting higher education around the world at the national, institutional, and individual levels, and what some of the future implications may be.

The World Bank maintains a continuously updated , including the number of pupils and students affected in each country.

The UK NARIC research team is also . They also published the report "" in mid-May.

Science Business is running the live blog "", which reports on how the crisis is impacting research and innovation, and what governments, funders, companies, universities, associations and scientists are doing to stop or cope with the pandemic.

Further web publications on crisis management at universities in times of the COVID-19 pandemic are available from the Chronicle of Higher Education and QS:

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education:
  • QS:

In addition, some websites and blogs have published numerous expert views and forecasts on the presumed impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the international academic world. On the , you will find several recent articles on the subject of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the international academic world. Other important sources for expert views and forecasts are the websites of , and the British .

Finally, there is also a survey by , for which more than 2,000 leaders in the public and private education sectors worldwide were asked about their assessments of COVID-19 effects (in March). The most important findings of this survey have already been summarised by the .


Studies and simulations on social distancing measures of HEI

At the beginning of June, two US professors published a working paper containing . summarizes the most important findings of the simulation study.

In another article, also reports on another simulation study as well as an experiment that deals with the concrete implementation of social distancing measures in the context of university teaching. The California Institute of Technology has used 3D simulations to calculate which . A professor at Salve Regina University investigated the in a teaching experiment. Inside Higher Ed contrasts his very negative results with the contrary assessment of a professor at Grand Valley State University, who refers in particular to so-called "", as they are used, for example, by experts of the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University.


Webinars and townhalls on COVID-19 and higher education

  • QS webinars:
    • (03.06.2020)
    • (23.04.2020)
    • (14.04.2020)
    • (26.03.2020)
  • Studyportals webinars:
    • (26.05.2020)
    • (28.04.2020)
    • (16.04.2020)
    • (31.03.2020)
  • ICEF webinars:
    • (04.06.2020)
    • (06.05.2020)
  • JIO Webinar "" by Dr. Allan Goodman & Dr. Francisco Marmalejo (14.05.2020)
  • Webinars by Carnegie Dartlet, focussing
  • Science Business webinar (22.04.2020)
  • Intead townhall (16.03.2020)



In mid-June, the European University Foundation launched an , in which European universities can indicate whether they will accept exchange students in the winter semester 2020/21 and whether they offer online courses. Universities can enter their data via the .



In mid-May The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) published the report "". The VSNU also maintains a continuously updated overview with .



The Chronicle of Higher Education maintains a continuously updated "", which also includes a graphic overview of these plans.

Inside Higher Ed has already conducted two surveys among US university presidents on the COVID-19 impact on HEIs, which are available here:

  • (29.06.2020)
  • (27.04.2020)
  • (27.03.2020)

Both surveys were also presented in a webcast, whose recordings and presentation slides are available and . Part 3 will be presented on 1 July, a .

Carnegie Dartlet, a private college marketing agency, provides an on the COVID-19 impact on the U.S. college world.

In mid-May, the Wall Street Journal made a video contribution on the question . To better understand the challenges facing U.S. colleges and universities, the WSJ spoke with administrators, students, and a higher education futurist.

In April, the private survey agency Bay View Analytics conducted a Snapshot Poll of over 800 employees of over 600 US universities . The survey was reported by , among others.

In March, the US-American Art & Science Group also interviewed nearly 500 prospective college students in the US on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their study plans. The most important findings can be found in the .

McKinsey regularly publishes articles on US university governance in times of COVID-19:

  • (01.06.2020)
  • (21.05.2020)
  • (30.04.2020)
  • (23.04.2020)
  • (03.04.2020)
  • (30.03.2020)



The Canadian university magazine "University Affairs" offers a continuously updated overview with .

ICEF also held a webinar in early June on "", now available as a video.


Latin America

The Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at the American University in Washington, DC, published a in early June. The study is based on a survey of university staff at more than 50 universities in Latin America. The most important findings of the study were also published on the CLALS blog.


Expert views and forecasts on COVID-19 and higher education

In recent months, numerous expert views and forecasts on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the international higher education world have been published on the relevant media outlets and blogs. In general, we would like to draw your attention once again to the and the , which both contain numerous articles on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international higher education. In addition, especially , , and the (HEPI) constantly publish relevant expert articles and forecasts.In the following you will find a collection of particularly relevant articles from recent weeks and months.


University World News

  • (Mitchell, 26.06.2020)
  • (Marmolejo, 13.06.2020)
  • (Marinoni/de Wit, 08.06.2020)
  • (Hudzik, 06.06.2020)
  • (Aarts, 06.06.2020)
  • (MacGregor, 06.06.2020)
  • (Edersheim, 06.06.2020)
  • (Chao Jr, 03.06.2020)
  • (de Wit, 23.05.2020)
  • (Montgomery, 16.05.2020)
  • (Leask/Green, 02.05.2020)
  • (Altbach/de Wit, 02.05.2020)
  • (Hudzik, 02.05.2020)
  • (Burquel/Busch, 25.04.2020):
  • (White/Lee, 18.04.2020) 
  • (Brown/Salmi, 18.04.2020) 
  • (Stückelberger, 11.04.2020)
  • (Martel/Rumbley, 09.04.2020) 
  • (Altbach/de Wit, 04.04.2020) 
  • (Odgen/Streitwieser/ van Mol, 04.04.2020) 
  • (Atherton, 04.04.2020) 
  • (Dennis, 28.03.2020) 
  • (Mitchell, 26.03.2020) 
  • (Mitchell, 26.03.2020) 
  • (Altbach/de Wit, 15.03.2020) 


Times Higher Education

  • (Bothwell, 10.06.2020)
  • (Ross, 04.06.2020)
  • (Garcia, 03.06.2020)
  • (Bothwell, 02.06.2020)
  • (Lorber/Prem, 19.05.2020)
  • (Devinney/Dowling, 14.05.2020)
  • (Mouzughi, 06.05.2020)
  • (Ross, 15.04.2020) 
  • (Lerman/Sen, 09.04.2020) 
  • (Hillman, 02.04.2020) 
  • (Bothwell, 26.03.2020) 
  • (Marginson, 26.03.2020) 
  • (Smith, 26.03.2020) 



  • (25.06.2020)
  • (25.06.2020)
  • (22.06.2020)
  • (22.06.2020)
  • (22.06.2020)
  • (21.06.2020)
  • (19.06.2020)
  • (18.06.2020)
  • (18.06.2020)
  •  (12.05.2020)
  •  (06.05.2020)


HEPI's Blog

  • (22.04.2020) 
  • (09.04.2020) 
  • (08.04.2020) 
  • (30.03.2020) 
  • (23.03.2020) 


Other, mixed sources

  • ICEF Monitor (06.05.2020): 
  • The PIE News (24.04.2020):
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education (15.04.2020):
  • ICEF Monitor (15.04.2020):  
  • Inside Higher Ed (14.04.2020):  
  • Inside Higher Eduation (14.04.2020):  
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education (13.04.2020):  
  • Forbes (13.04.2020):  
  • (09.04.2020):  
  • Worlds of Education (09.04.2020):  
  • ICEF Monitor (01.04.2020):  
  • (26.03.2020):
  • ZDNet (Dignan, 22.03.2020):