Friday, February 24, 2017

International Student Enrollment: Is It Time To Panic Now?

The number of international students flocking to U.S. institutions of higher education has been steadily increasing, year after year. The only real dip of note can be traced to 9/11. As I've blogged about before, I'm worried that there will be a "Trump effect" on international student enrollment in 2017-2018 that will have serious consequences for U.S. institutions of higher education that rely on foreign student dollars.

When I taught my immigration law students about nonimmigrant visas for international students, I shared with them this image.

International Students in the U.S

I asked them what they foresaw in the coming year. My American students generally thought that the allure of the United States would continue to draw high numbers of international students. But my international students (about half the class) thought the opposite. They predicted a dramatic decrease.

One international student in particular had an observation that I found quite astute. She noted that the U.S. may have seen a dip in enrollment post 9/11 as a result of students being afraid for their own safety in this country. But now, students are afraid that they are simply unwelcome in this country. That's a much higher barrier to overcome in making the decision to travel abroad for education.

So, is it time to panic now?


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