How Universities are Looking Ahead in 2021

As we move into 2021, universities are identifying emerging opportunities and positive shifts within the higher education sector to better combat the coronavirus crisis and its consequences 

While 2021 will pose its own challenges and struggles, seeing a continuation of the crisis that dominated 2020, universities are predicting positive shifts within the global higher education space.  

The rollout of several coronavirus vaccines this year could prove to be pivotal, with 61% of surveyed higher education professionals stating that it will make it easier to recruit international students. 

This suggests that higher education professionals are feeling positive about the impact of the coronavirus vaccines on international student recruitment and the financial ripple effects for the higher education sector, and reiterates the positive outlook exhibited by many universities for the year ahead. 

Additionally, 46% of survey respondents believe that the introduction and rollout of a coronavirus vaccine will allow for a full return to face-to-face teaching within the next 12 months, while 21% believe this will occur within the next six months.  

These insights and other findings are from the latest QS analysis of its ongoing survey of higher education professionals, based on 425 responses since mid-November.  

In this analysis, it’s revealed that 70% of higher education professionals had fully closed their campus to students, with 54% of this group stating that they don’t expect their main campus to fully open to students until August 2021 or later.  

Unsurprisingly, most teaching has shifted to virtual environments with 42% teaching completely online and 47% conducting mostly online with some face-to-face teaching.  

In 2020, higher education institutions demonstrated their agility and adaptability as they moved the educational experience online.  

This will only continue in 2021 as institutions ensure education is delivered in an effective, safe, and forward-thinking manner.  

To discover more insights from the QS coronavirus survey of higher education professionals and see how the sector is set to evolve in 2021, please download our report: Hope for the Future: How Universities are Identifying Emerging Opportunities in 2021. 

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