From Inside Higher Ed—International Enrollments: From Flat to Way Down

September 21, 2017

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Title: International Enrollments: From Flat to Way Down

Author: Elizabeth Redden

Source: Inside Higher Ed

New data from about two dozen universities indicates that although some institutions are maintaining or even increasing their international enrollment numbers, some U.S. higher education institutions are now witnessing a trend of declines in international student enrollment.

University officials reported in recent interviews with Inside Higher Ed that there has been a slowdown in the flow of students from China and declines in graduate students from India. Declines in enrollments of Saudi Arabian students also continue, a trend that began in 2016 after the Saudi government tightened up the terms of its scholarship program.

The data show that national policies or demographic shifts in key source countries, changes to scholarship programs or a country’s own higher education capacity, and increasing competition for students from their own countries can lead to shifts in international student numbers. In addition, increased concerns from international students about their personal safety, their ability to get a visa, and whether there could be changes to the optional practical training and H-1B visa programs after they graduate can also have a negative influence on universities’ international enrollment.

ACE is taking several actions to address the importance of maintaining a welcoming perception to international students and scholars, including submitting this amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case examining President Trump’s second attempt to ban refugees and immigrants from several majority-Muslim countries. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Oct. 10.

Robin M. Helms and Lucia Brajkovic from ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement also published a blog post about recent data and reflections on international student enrollment in the United States, titled “The Sky Is Falling . . . or Is It? New Data and Reflections on International Student Enrollment.” This data comes from a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education in cooperation with four other higher education associations.

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