Colleges have seen a 40 percent drop in international students apply for their schools.
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U.S. college campuses are experiencing a serious decline in the rate of new international student enrollments. This is detrimental since many schools benefit highly from having international students attend their classes. The decline can be attributed to tightening U.S. border regulations, as well as the federal government reducing the number of scholarships for international students. These cutbacks have meant fewer international students on campus, as well as schools losing tuition, which in turn means they’ve had to reduce their budgets. It is a true domino effect.

Changes in immigration policy

Lately, there have been sudden changes in immigration policy, and these appear to have frightened students from working toward visas and scholarships in the U.S. Some estimates point to a 40 percent decrease in international students applying to U.S. schools. These policy changes are creating what some call “an unwelcoming image of the U.S.” For students looking to leave their home country to get a better education, safety is a huge factor.

The travel bans also affect countries that are predominantly Muslim, meaning that it will become difficult for students from these countries who have not yet started school in the U.S. to obtain the correct visa. However, students who have already completed some semesters in U.S. colleges should have little problem returning.

How schools are affected

A notable example of these policies in action is at Missouri State University, a school that recently reported the lowest number of international students in five years, plus a 9 percent drop from the previous year. Another survey looked at 500 different colleges and found that the international student enrollment had dropped 7 percent, which is the largest decline for midwestern and less-competitive schools.

The proposed budget for 2018 has a large reduction in the amount of scholarship money allotted for international students. This also plays into the decline of international students. Less scholarship money for them means there’s less opportunity for more students, and the process becomes more selective.


The current political climate of the U.S. as well as current events within the country may be the reason students are not applying to American colleges as much as they have in previous years. This decline affects the schools since they have to now adjust budgets to accommodate the lack of projected tuition income from international students. America should rethink how the world sees the country if it wants to keep helping educate the world’s brightest scholars.

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Posted 11.24.2017 - 11:00 am EST