The graduating international undergraduate class of 2020—Counterintuitive graduation rate and time to degree during onset of the coronavirus pandemic


  • Barry Fass-Holmes San Diego State University



caste, graduation outcomes, international undergraduates, racism, COVID-19


What were the graduation rate and time to degree for international undergraduates who would have been expected to graduate during the coronavirus pandemic’s onset in spring 2020? The present study addressed this question by testing for intergroup differences in graduation outcomes between an American public university’s international undergraduate class of 2020 and its pre-pandemic comparison counterpart of 2019. Controlling for early (pre-pandemic) graduations, the study yielded counterintuitive results; although the literature on the pandemic’s educational disruptions, mental health symptoms, xenophobia, and stressors would predict that the class of 2020’s graduation rate should have been lower and average time to degree longer than the class of 2019’s, the two classes’ values were almost identical. These results, together with previous ones on term grade point averages, are indicative of this class of 2020’s academic success, resilience, and/or benefit from institutional support. They are discussed in the context of racism and caste.


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How to Cite

Fass-Holmes, B. (2024). The graduating international undergraduate class of 2020—Counterintuitive graduation rate and time to degree during onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 16(1).



Empirical Article