Impact of Covid-19, Economic, Racial and Political Tensions on Chinese Student Pursuit of Education in US

Dr. Brian A. Swanson; Dr. Huan Wang & Jeremy Hughes


Chinese international students account for a significant portion of the US higher education system.  This impact is amplified by the fact that many of these students are paying higher out of state tuition costs that many universities rely on to meet their pecuniary needs.  This past year has undergone significant changes in the area of China-US relations which could jeopardize the prior model used by US universities.  This article examines four of the key political issues affecting the China-US relationship and measures the extent Chinese students are influenced by these factors when deciding to pursue education in the US.  The four factors analyzed are the US Covid-19 situation, the China-US trade war, the social upheaval associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the most recent political tensions between the US and China.  This study also compares results to research extrapolated from the same population a year earlier to assess any change over time.  Key findings indicate that only about half as many students are willing to consider studying in the US and that Covid-19 seems to be the most influential factor in most student’s reasoning.