Bengaluru colleges are noticing a fall in the number of international students taking admission this year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although the city has always attracted foreign students, it's different this time.
Bengaluru colleges are open to new admissions with travel restrictions, late result announcements, and fear of the current situation. However, institutions are receiving fewer new foreign Students.
Christ Deemed-to-be University, which enrols about 600 international students, only had 120 new students joining this year from abroad.
Fr Abraham VM, the vice-chancellor of Christ Deemed-to-be University, said, “What used to be around 100 students from Nepal is now 29 this time. There’s just one student from South Korea as against 50 in a normal year. The admissions through ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) scholarships are yet to come, but the numbers will not reach normalcy. The drop is likely to affect university revenue by 10-15%.”
Similarly, Raj Kumar Chakraborty, director (admissions) of Presidency University, revealed that earlier students come to Bengaluru 6-8 months before the admission season begins but, this year, the situation is not the same. He also added that students used to join English training centers and make a smooth transition when colleges open. This time, all of them returned home by March and are yet to return to take admissions.
On the other hand, there is a rise of NRI and Person of Indian Origin students returning to take admissions.
Christo Joseph, director, strategy, and planning, Garden City University, informed there is a rise in admission from NRI students, majorly from West Asia, due to the economic situation arising out of job losses, salary cuts, and families returning home in recent times.
Apart from this, Universities are putting efforts to attract students to take admissions.
For instance, Suhasini Gowda, senior adviser for international students and the scholar’s advisory center of the Jain Deemed-to-be University, mentioned that they enrolled 700 foreign Students last year. This year the number is 420.
“Confirmations are slowly coming in for some courses, but not like previous years. While we do not see a drop from Saarc countries, the reduction is from those like Ethiopia and Somalia,” he added.
One major step taken by the University is to provide an option to pay the fee in installments, but they're keeping Fees almost the same as last year.
Everyone is hoping that the situation will improve in the next few days. B Narasimha Murthy, vice-president, CMR Institute of Technology, revealed that most of the international students belong to South Africa. The authorities have begun to connect with students to join the campuses.
P. Venugopal, the regional director, Indian Council for Cultural Relations revealed that they have got 1,400 applications between December 2019 and March 2020. It’s early to comment on the trend, but the pandemic may affect the admissions.”