Taiwan universities suffer losses from fewer foreign students

Decline in foreign students studying in Taiwan caused by coronavirus woes

Foreign students at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport 

Foreign students at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Universities in Taiwan have reported a significant loss in tuition fees due to the decline in the number of international students amid the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Around 3,000 foreign students have forfeited their enrollment in Taiwan’s colleges this year, including 1,000 freshmen students. With an average fee of NT$110,000 (US$3,835) a year, this translates to an estimated loss of NT$300 million, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Education authorities greenlighted the entry of international students in June, and approximately 17,000 have arrived in Taiwan as of Monday (Oct. 12). A total of 22,000 to 23,000 students registered in the country’s universities are expected to enter the country by the end of the year, wrote CNA.

The pace of international student admissions has been slow due to curtailed flights and quarantine measures. Most of those who have decided not to study in Taiwan hail from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which are struggling to cope with the coronavirus, China Times reported.

Whether to grant non-degree students, including 450 foreigners planning to study Chinese in Taiwan on MOE scholarships, entry into Taiwan will be discussed after October. Prior to the health crisis, Taiwan saw annual growth of five to six percent in the number of foreign students, according to China Times.

Foreign students have complained about the cost of mandatory quarantine at designated hotels and have called for government support. In some cases, students have had to pay NT$52,500 for the 15-day quarantine period.