Chinese students are finding it increasingly difficult to apply to foreign universities and business schools after a string of entrance exams have been scrapped amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The College Board, which organizes the standardized Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, for admission to colleges in the US, canceled the 14 March test for all registered students traveling from China to other locations for the exam, Bloomberg reported, citing an email sent to students. The test will be administered in cities like Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, but not in mainland China.

Concerns around the virus and ongoing travel restrictions were the main reasons for the move, according to the email.

Graduate school entry exams, GRE and GMAT, and English proficiency tests IELTS and TOEFL were also canceled for March, China’s National Education Examinations Authority said Monday -- marking the second straight month test takers have been unable to undertake the exams in China. The registration fees for all the tests will be refunded.

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Missed deadlines

With the ongoing cancellations, Chinese students may miss deadlines to apply to top universities across the world. A drop in the intake of Chinese students could deal a blow to educational institutions, especially those in the US, UK and Australia which have grown reliant on revenue from Chinese fee payers in recent years.

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Students from China, the largest source of foreign students in the US, had a USD 22 billion impact on the American economy last year, despite the two-year trade war. Applications to the UK have also risen while the number of Chinese students to Australia has doubled since the SARS epidemic 17 years ago.

Travel restrictions

The epidemic has already killed more than 1,800, infected over 72,000 in China and spread to two dozen nations. It has also disrupted global supply chains, stranded travelers on cruise ships and restricted the movements of millions of Chinese people. More than 50 countries and territories have so far imposed travel restrictions and tightened visa requirements for those traveling from China.

The cancellation, however, gives students more time to prepare, said Julia Gooding, a Shanghai-based director at consultancy BE Education. Students can still make it for the start of the fall session at universities if the next round of exams are conducted on 2 May as per the schedule, she said.

Source: Bloomberg