New Data Outline Colleges’ Biggest COVID-19 Concerns Worldwide


Less than half of colleges said they felt ready for COVID-19, according to survey data released Wednesday by the International Association of University Presidents.

A relatively high percentage of institutions from Asia and Oceania, 49 percent, reported being ready for COVID-19. More private institutions felt prepared to cope with the pandemic than public institutions, 43 percent versus 34 percent, respectively.

The IAUP released top-line data from its survey of more than 760 public and private institutions worldwide. About a third of respondents were North American colleges. European institutions accounted for another third. Another 3 percent of the responses came from Africa and the Middle East, 15 percent came from Asia and Oceania, and 11 percent came from Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Among colleges’ biggest concerns were student success, overall financial stability, maintaining student engagement, inclusion and declines in student enrollment, according to the survey. Preparing for widespread testing and distributing personal protective equipment were not as big concerns for colleges, primarily because many colleges opted not to reconvene for in-person instruction.

One in five colleges listed testing as a concern, said Fernando León-García, president-elect of the IAUP.

Only 5 percent of respondents planned to open in person for the fall semester, while nearly three-quarters opted for a hybrid in-person-online instruction model. The hybrid model was most popular in Africa and the Middle East, according to the survey.

Nearly three-quarters of responding institutions anticipated revenue declines, and nearly half expected pressure for increased financial support to students.

IAUP plans to release a report with the full survey data in the coming weeks.



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