These rectors expect the pandemic to affect universities' financial situation and enrolments and to generate greater infrastructure requirements.

Around 70% of these institutions expect to offer a hybrid or mixed model of delivery.

Partnerships between universities and the business sector and industry have also been affected.

Mexico City, 11 November 2020. 
The International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) and Santander Universities have carried out a survey of more than 700 rectors worldwide. The survey found that the pandemic is having an economic impact and is affecting enrolments and infrastructure requirements. Around 70% of universities expect to offer a mixed model of face-to-face and online delivery in the future.

Rectors and other leaders of public and private higher education institutions reported global pressures on their financial models and on attracting new students. This implies the potential for permanent changes to their educational models, in response to the challenges posed by the covid - 19 pandemic. 

The survey was carried out by IAUP and Santander Universities, in partnership with other international institutions such as the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). It received over 700 responses from educational leaders in 90 countries worldwide.

"Having got through the initial emergency response to the pandemic, we're seeing the lasting impact it will have on education institutions around the world", says Fernando León García, President Elect of IAUP and rector of Sistema CETYS Universidad. "In addition to the pressures in areas such as raising funds and student enrolments, the effects of the pandemic have changed the way in which higher education institutions work with industry, suggesting significant changes to trends in international education", he adds.  

The survey responses show that institutions are suffering serious economic pressures and need major changes to their operating models. Over 73% of the institutions expect their income to fall in future, with 59% anticipating student enrolments to drop and 49% forecasting funding challenges. This pattern is similar in all of the regions covered by the study.  

Some 45% of respondents expect increased requirements for financial support for their students. In addition to necessary infrastructure investment, particularly in relation to their technological capacity, the rectors expected a need to invest in developing continuous education programmes, support programmes for student employability and support for entrepreneurship. There were some significant differences in the responses of the rectors in different regions. Leaders in North and Latin America and Europe considered the increase in needs for financial support a priority. In Asia and Oceania the priority was infrastructure investment, while the priority in Africa and the Middle East was programmes to foster the employability of students and graduates. 

"We're the leaders in supporting higher education. As part of our commitment, Santander is supporting this study, which offers unprecedented analysis on a global level. We hope this information will help universities prepare for the rapid changes brought about by the pandemic and the new educational models that will need to be implemented", added Arturo Cherbowski, executive head of Santander Universities Mexico. "Santander is helping universities with this challenge because we're convinced that our commitment to higher education will make a real difference to the post-COVID world.

The survey was divided into three blocks: initial reactions, focusing on the first half of 2020; preparations for the 2020-2021 academic year, immediately after the start of the autumn academic term; and the outlook for the next three years. 

Some of the survey's conclusions were: 

  • Only 37% of the institutions said they were ready to react to COVID-19. Asia and Oceania reported the highest levels of preparedness (49%), with North America having the lowest levels (29%). 
  • Covid - 19 is having profound effects on collaboration between universities and industry and businesses. 56% of the education institutions expected a fall in collaboration with these sectors this year. 
  • The leaders appeared to be focusing, at least at the moment, on a wide-ranging internationalisation programme, expanding their "virtual mobility" programmes and underlining the importance of alliances between universities. 
  • The main concerns highlighted by respondents were: student success (68%); overall financial stability (57%); maintaining student engagement (51%); inclusion (49%); and a decline in student enrolment (44%).
  • A higher number of institutions indicated that they were focusing on addressing temporary (47%) needs rather than restructuring (49%) or reinventing (36%). A focus on the urgent and superficial seems to be prevailing over a deeper, long-term vision. This applied to all of the regions in the survey, and to public and private institutions alike.
  • The responses also showed that the leaders have an idea of the future in which educational programmes will tend towards a combination of online, hybrid and face-to-face education (71%); hybrid education (70%), online education (67%) or education using alternative methods (66%). 

A more extensive report will be released in the coming weeks, including comparisons between regions and specific information by country. 

Banco Santander and its support of higher education 
Banco Santander is firmly committed to progress and inclusive, sustainable growth, with a long-standing dedication to higher education that sets it apart from the world's other financial institutions. With more than €1,800 million invested in academic initiatives since 2002 through 

Santander Universities and over 430,000 university scholarships and grants awarded since 2005, it has been recognised as the company that invests the most in education worldwide (Varkey/UNESCO, Fortune 500 Report), with agreements in place with 1,000 universities and institutions in 22 countries.

About the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP)
IAUP is an association of university leaders from higher education institutions worldwide. It is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) holding the highest (ECOSOC) consultation rights at the United Nations and formal consultation rights with UNESCO. Its membership is limited to individuals who serve as presidents, rectors or vice-chancellors at regionally accredited colleges or universities. IAUP was founded in 1965 and has been striving since then to achieve excellence by: increasing the exchange of experiences, levels of collaboration and networking between university leaders; providing a well-informed forum for university leaders throughout the world; contributing to a worldwide vision of higher education; strengthening the international mission of institutions throughout the world; making every effort for the voice of educational leaders to be heard; supporting sustainable development in a context of global competency; and promoting peace and international understanding through education.

About Banco Santander Mexico (NYSE: BSMX BMV: BSMX)
Banco Santander Mexico, S.A., Institución de Banca Múltiple, Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico (Banco Santander Mexico) is one of the largest banks in Mexico. It offers a wide range of financial services and products, including retail and commercial banking and banking for individuals, financial advisory services and other investment activities. Banco Santander Mexico provides a financial services platform for the middle and upper segments of the population and small and medium-sized enterprises. It also provides end-to-end financial services for major multinational companies in Mexico. At 30 September 2020, Banco Santander Mexico had total assets amounting to MXN 1,859,000 million and had more than 18.7 million customers. With headquarters in Mexico City, the company operates 1,407 branches around the country and has 20,922 employees.