Survey Shows European Universities Are Deeply Affected by International Student Mobility Decrease


Most universities across the world were forced to shift into online teaching due to COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, several European universities have been affected by the decrease in international mobility, experiencing financial losses due to lack of services in campuses, a survey conducted by the European University Association (EUA) has shown.

The survey, in which took part German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), included not only the EU member countries but also Norway and Turkey representatives, Erudera reports.

Despite restrictions on international mobility, the survey has shown that additional money that had to be used for digital infrastructure or for the employees training, could also lead to financial losses.

Nearly half of 29 university representatives participating in the survey said that the decrease in the number of international students’ admissions and the mobility of students has affected them in economic terms. Whereas, 13 of them said it is employees’ mobility that has financially affected them.

Moreover, 25 country representatives stated that they had to invest in the digital infrastructure, while 18 of them have spent extra money on training employees. In addition to this, special committees on digitization have been established for the first time in certain countries as well as new vice-rectors have been appointed.

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, 21 countries have received an additional amount of money from the public sector used to equip universities for online teaching and research.

“In addition to the five million euros made available ad hoc by the state for the universities, we need further financial support from the state in order to be able to react to the necessary adjustments in teaching, research and administration due to the corona,” the chairman of the State Rectors’ Conference (LRK) and President of the Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, Christoph Jansen for the German Press Agency.

Countries Fear Funding for Universities Could Reduce

Representatives of twelve countries, including Germany, consider that science has gained more credibility in politics amid COVID-19. Whereas, representatives of seven countries stated they fear pandemic could lead to a decrease in basic funding for universities.

Differently, 14 country representatives stated they expect the amount of funding to increase or at least remain the same and 17  have the same expectations when it comes to project funding. As per EU funding, twelve countries expressed uncertainty. 

Other countries also have different expectations when it comes to education amid the pandemic.

  • England and Ireland expect increasing universities centralization.
  • Italy and Turkey expect new design options for universities.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, France, Norway and Romania expressed the same stances regarding the increased digitization and mobile work.

Data have been collected through two large-scale studies by the EEA over the impact of Coronavirus on universities. The second study is expected to be published in spring 2021.

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