Number of Chinese Students at Ohio State University Continues to Drop

The number of international students enrolled at Ohio State University has finally begun to stabilize since the first year of the COVID-19 outbreak, but the number of Chinese students has decreased between 2019 and 2020.

According to university data, the number of students from China fell by 16.8 percent over the period, nearly 1,000 students, whereas during this semester – Chinese enrollments dropped 8.2 percent.

Ohio State pointed out that the overall number of international students dropped by 15.1 percent from fall 2019 to fall 2020. According to the university’s 15th-day enrollment figures, numbers are the same in this fall.

As WOSU reports, undergraduate international students at Ohio State pay approximately $54,000 in tuition, room and board, as well as health insurance, excluding scholarships or grants. Hence, with 800 less undergraduate Chinese students, the university lost around $44 million.

The associate vice provost for global strategies and international affairs at Ohio State, Fernando Unzueta, said that one of the reasons behind the drop in the number of international students, including those from China, is the lack of visas.

“They couldn’t get visas, there were travel restrictions whether from the U.S. or from their home countries, and there was a general climate of uncertainty and lack of security in the context of the pandemic,” he told WOSU public media.

During the 2019/20 academic year, 372,000 undergraduate and graduate students from China were enrolled at universities across the United States. This number accounted for 35 percent of the total international student body.

As of May this year, the US consulates granted F-1 visas to a total of 85,000 Chinese students, which number, according to the US Embassy in Beijing, has increased compared to 2019. Due to geopolitical relations between China and the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic, and travel restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of the virus, travel between these two countries was impossible.

China is also a good source of international students in Australia too, but different from Ohio State University, the number of Chinese students at Australian universities remained stable this year, dropping only 2 percent compared to 2020.

According to the government’s data, as of July 2021, there were 140,786 Chinese students in Australia, while a year earlier, there were 143,778 Chinese students enrolled at Australian higher education institutions.

As the pandemic continues to be present, the Ohio State University announced that as of August 29, more than 89,000 faculty, staff, and students asked for an exemption for religious or medical reasons or submitted proof of vaccination. The university claimed that 95 percent submitted proof of vaccination, and 5 percent of students requested exemptions.

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