Corona Virus a.k.a COVID-19, a virus that has taken over the world and is defined as a pandemic disease by the World Health Organization (WHO) because it has affected countries worldwide. The first confirmed COVID-19 case was detected on 17th November’19 in China. Little did we all know that this disease would turn out to be a global outbreak and a deadly one too. This virus has affected everyone globally including the people who aspired to study abroad. In this article, we are going to cover some key topics which you need to read and be updated about with regards to the Corona Virus affecting education in the USA.
There is an article that we have posted which is a One-Stop article for COVID - 19 updates on Study Abroad. Do click here and keep yourself updated with whatever is happening with regards to COVID -19 and its updates on Study Abroad.
The latest update on the live tracker of Corona Virus count in the USA on 24th March’20 was 46,145. In a Press Conference, President Donald Trump imposed a travel ban on 26 European countries, the UK, China, Iran, and Ireland which came into effect on 16th March.
Among all of this, the international students who are studying in the United States are stranded too. The students who are studying on an F1 visa have been given holidays, extended spring breaks or online classes. Some universities like Harvard and MIT have canceled all their classes for the semester. These universities also told the students to vacate the campus and to take all their stuff with them. The international students too!
What about the students who were going to join this Fall’20?
- The aspirants who had received their admit and were waiting for their i20 to be delivered or even the students who had applied and were waiting for their admits have started to question whether they could join this Fall or not.
- Some of the Universities have mailed the upcoming students to either defer their admission to the next Fall or take online lectures for Fall’20 and join on campus from Spring’21.
- The ones who are waiting for an admit are not facing any delays as such. Many universities have even speeded up the decisions as the staff is working from home. Some of the universities who were asking for physical copies of transcripts have started accepting scanned copies. Some of the universities have offered GRE waivers or started accepting online English tests like Duolingo. However, there may be a delay in the shipments of i20 forms too due to lockdown in many cities and countries.
- All the US Visa Consulates have been shut down which came into effect from 16th March’20 till further notice. This means even the students who have received their i20 need to wait until further notice.
- Many parents are also not sure of sending their children abroad for studies.
P.S.: Keep checking this page for official updates from the universities.
Visa Consulate Offices
After this outbreak, the US took some precautionary measures to temporarily close down all the visa consulate offices until further notice. This by no means states that it is permanent and you need to be updated with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
On 27th March, after update by the ICE. The SEVP has lifted the official physical copy i-20 requirement which used to be the only way to go about in the visa interview. Though it is temporary, the students who have an admit and applied for i20 don't have to pay for the i20 shipment anymore. The universities are going to mail the i20 directly to students which can be used for the visa interview. If the student is minor, the electronic i20 will be sent to their guardian's email id.
What about the students who are already in the USA?
- Some universities have started giving online lectures after the State commanded to shift the physical classes into virtual ones like Rutgers, Harvard, MIT, etc.
- Some universities which had their spring break have now been extended until further notice.
- The students who were graduating this year have been given the degrees virtually by some universities like Illinois Institute of Technology, etc. Whereas, the others have postponed their graduation ceremony.
- The students who would want to travel home will either face problems while coming back because there is a travel ban on certain countries or the countries are severely affected and the students are locked in the US without traveling to their home country.
We chatted with a popular Youtuber Yudi J (Pritesh Jagani) to know how’s the scenario in the US. He quoted, “I believe that even if students are asked to defer the admission or take online classes now and join in Spring, students should opt for deferring the admission to the upcoming Spring or Fall because the experience of studying in the American soil and learning it physically is way better than online. Moreover, spending thousands of dollars on online courses is not worth it.”
Well, as a coin has two sides so does this situation. Our Co-Founder Sumeet Jain also has quoted when there were certain questions asked to him, "Should you start your courses online? Amid the Covid19 crisis, most of the universities have moved their current classes online. Many students going for Fall 2020 are worried about what should they do in case this continues. First of all, I am really hopeful that it won't come to that point. In the worst case, if it does then many universities would be starting the courses online."
"Should students opt for these? I think so. When the universities start these courses online, I am sure they would offer some discount on tuition fees and the living costs becomes null."
"What about the experience? Yes, one of the most important parts of studying abroad is the experience you get from living in that country. Again, you would not be doing your complete course online. You would be just starting your course online, take one semester online and then move to the campus. Basically, you are doing 25% of your course in India (online) and the rest on campus. I also feel this is a great opportunity to reduce your cost of education and not waste time. I would certainly go for the online option."
There will definitely be certain problems that the international students who are aiming to come in the future terms will face for some amount of time - just like the rest of the world! However, this is just a temporary setback and we should always keep our hopes high and stay positive but on the other hand not taking this lightly. Those who remember the 2008 recession (which lasted for around 11 months) would know that the markets eventually took a positive slope and became profitable.
Yocket highly believes that once this phase is over, the admissions industry, as well as the overall economy, will boom again and Indian students completing their Masters in 2022 will be at the forefront of it all. In a brief discussion with Yocket, Vaibhav Singh (Founder, Leap Finance) quoted, “Indian students are some of the best global talents. These graduates across the world will be key contributors to technological growth in the coming decades. Leap's mission is to help them achieve their true potential and our conviction in their future is unwavering. We are going full steam to be their financial partner of choice. In fact, we have revised our targets for Fall 2020 upwards”
When education loan firms like Leap finance, who have their monies riding on your future are bullish on growth despite the pandemic, we too must not lose hope of traveling to the US for education and keep following your dreams.
In the end, we would like to conclude that,
- Stay healthy and keep washing your hands regularly with soap.
- Avoid social gatherings as much as possible.
- Keep yourself updated with the legitimate news and be aware of the fake ones.
- Help yourself and the community when in need.
Stay safe, healthy, positive and strong because every storm has to end, as the famous Persian saying goes, “This too shall pass”.