Taiwan began allowing Chinese students to come to Taiwan to study for academic degrees in 2011. In 2020, China stopped allowing its students to study in Taiwan due to the pandemic and political issues. The latest information from the University Entrance Committee for Mainland Chinese Students shows that the enrollment rate has hit an all-time low.
In April 2020, China stopped allowing its students to study at Taiwan's universities, citing the global pandemic. However, students already in Taiwan were allowed to remain and pursue graduate studies. The latest information shows that 45 schools have accepted 465 Chinese students for master's and doctorate degree programs, a decrease of 241 compared to 2021. The enrollment rate of 31 percent is an all-time low. The number of unfilled spots in master's and doctorate degree programs is 818 and 217, respectively. Former Shih Chien University president Michael Chen says this is not at all surprising.
Michael Chen, Supervisor, Providence University: “I'm not optimistic at all, even though the government wants to unilaterally open up Taiwan to Chinese students pursuing advanced studies, as I don't think Chinese students will come. We might as well put our efforts into the New Southbound Policy countries.”
Taiwan's universities, especially private ones, are already suffering the effects of the declining birthrate. The lack of Chinese students is making matters worse. Chinese students in Taiwan are not allowed to work temporary jobs or accept government scholarships, and these limits affect the desire of Chinese students to stay in Taiwan. One Chinese master's degree student in Taiwan says finances are the secondary concern. The primary concern is the lack of opportunities.
Chinese Master's Degree Student in Taiwan: “You're not allowed to work internships, become research assistants, or participate in Ministry of Science and Technology programs. The inability to take part in professors' research projects affects your studies.”
The last batch of Chinese students of about 800 arrived to pursue bachelor's degrees in 2019. They may become the last class once they graduate in 2023 if China maintains the ban. The Ministry of Education is making plans to open up Taiwan to "non-degree students," including those from China. Chen says schools can afford to be a little optimistic if they are able to utilize sister school relationships, but they shouldn't have high expectations.