Every spring, students and high school graduates anticipate the summer vacations and the beginning of the new academic year in autumn. However, the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020 made its adjustments in the lives of all people on the planet. Students and teachers are confused and do not know what to expect from the coming year. Will universities function as usual, or will most of the study take place online from home? What should students do if their studies are focused on practical classes in labs? What changes are waiting for us in 2020-2021 in the sphere of education? We will review the hottest college trends and discuss what to expect in the upcoming academic year.

What Triggered the Problem?

Governments around the world decided to close educational institutions in an effort to contain the global COVID-19 pandemic. According to UNESCO, 188 countries closed schools nationwide, affecting 91.3% of the world’s students (1.58 billion). According to UNESCO, 53 states have already deployed national educational platforms for distance learning.

Most students have experienced difficulties in the transition to distance education. This means that education will bring less benefit, and its quality leaves much to be desired. This aspect is particularly relevant for kids in poor districts, with limited or no access to the Internet. Moreover, it is a huge problem for families with several students and only one computer.

Fewer Students Studying Abroad

Indeed, studying abroad is completely stopped nowadays. There is a whole range of problems that hinder the renewal of this process. These include the unavailability of a coronavirus vaccine; difficulties in obtaining passports and visas; warnings from national governments against travel by citizens around the world; the inability of many families to pay for their children’s education due to a sharp drop in income; and finally, parents’ fear for the health and safety of their offspring.

IFSA (Institute for Study Abroad), one of the largest U.S. nonprofit providers of education abroad, believes that these processes will begin to recover no sooner than the spring of 2021 and on a much smaller scale than previously.

A study of 11,000 potential international students this spring showed that the COVID-19 pandemic clearly changed the intentions of 46% of those surveyed to study abroad; 25% of them are hesitating, and only 29% did not change their minds. In other words, less than one-third of students who previously wanted to study at foreign universities in the second half of February was still ready to implement their plans immediately after the end of the pandemic. By the end of March, only 8% of the respondents answered affirmatively whether they were going to study in another country.

Students Will Take a Gap Year

According to research conducted by Art & Science Group, every sixth student is planning to take a gap year due to the pandemic and the unclear situation in the education sector. The cost of one year of study at most universities and colleges is not that low, and the quality of remote- and self-study leaves much to be desired. Most students complain that teachers have begun to assign more homework in the expectation that students have more free time because of the quarantine. People have to address various essay writing services as they can’t cope with the scope of tasks. However, this results in more fatigue and poor comprehension of the material. This makes both parents and students think about the reasonability of tuition fees. We all must admit that getting an education is not only a process of obtaining new knowledge but also a social experience and the development of many useful skills and qualities that cannot be developed while sitting at home.

Colleges Will Be Sued

Unfortunately, almost all students had to face e-learning, self-isolation, and total quarantine. This led to the fact that the money spent on the room in the dormitory, scholarships, and tuition fees fell into oblivion. Even now, students have filed lawsuits against 55 institutions, demanding at least a partial refund of the money spent on services they were unable to use. Thus, Columbia and Harvard have already refunded money to those students who had sued them.

More and more students are expected to seek such a practice and demand a refund. Moreover, if we are to experience a new shutdown, this tendency will continue.

It is certainly an incredible yet disappointing time to be a student. Many have lost money, had their hopes and expectations shattered. However, it is also a wonderful experience for those who did not give up and continued to study hard no matter what. Such students can certainly be ideal workers who can handle anything.