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Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Ed Amid the Health Crisis

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In spite of border restrictions put in place in hopes of containing the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions (HEIs) in the United States remain diversified and inclusive as almost half of the global learners are from races of color. 


In the 2020 data recently released by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), about 47% of international students in the US are from China and India.


This accounts for 382,561 foreign students from China and 207,460 from India in the year 2020.


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These were followed by South Korea, which sent 68,217 students to the US; Saudi Arabia with 38,039, Canada with 35,508, and Brazil with 34,892. In addition, the overall number of students with active F1 and M1 visas are coming from Asia, which is about 74% of the US foreign student population.


Although new F1 students dropped to 91% and new M1 students down by 72% in August 2020, the demographics that favor races of color is a good signal in cementing diversity and inclusivity in the US.


Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

A report released by the U.S. Department of Education has underscored that a more diverse and inclusive higher education system opens the society, especially the minority, to better opportunities. This includes a positive impact on social mobility, closing the unemployment gap, as well as educational and labor market outcomes.


In establishing the movement towards more diverse and inclusive colleges and universities, the U.S. Department of Education has called upon HEIs to strongly incorporate D&I messaging and policies across an institution’s leadership, governance, and student support services.

Amid the rising racial disparity and the mobility restrictions posed by the pandemic, it is good news that student recruitment among international students remains high in countries where people of color come from.


In the long run, HEIs’ commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives and a robust international education system will not only benefit the economy, but will also foster more open-minded, empathetic, and humane societies.

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