U.S. Colleges See Decline in International Student Enrollment

By Sophie Jeffery, Contributing Writer

Photo: Google Pictures

The New York Times reports a drop in international student enrollment during the current academic year (2017-18).  According to a recent survey released by the Institute of International Education, fewer international students have enrolled in U.S. colleges for the first academic semester following President Trump’s inauguration last January.  The institute reached out to almost 500 campuses all across the country, with 45 percent reporting lower international enrollment.

The head of research for the institute, Rajika Bhandari, told the Times the reason for lower enrollment is probably “a mix of factors.  Concerns around the travel ban had a lot to do with concerns around personal safety based on a few incidents involving international students, and a generalized concern about whether they’re safe.”

As the Times reports, however, there was a 3 percent drop of first-time international students during the previous academic year, which suggests the drop began before President Trump was elected.  Other possible reasons for this decline include a greater draw to other countries, such as Canada, Britain, and Australia.

These drops in enrollment could result in significant financial difficulties for smaller universities.  The Times reports international students contribute $39 billion to the United States economy each school year.

Picture: McKendree University Website

McKendree University has a large number of international students that come to our campus from over 30 different countries.  Each yellow dot on this map, found on McKendree’s website, represents the hometown of McKendree’s international students.

Brent Reeves, Director of Multicultural Affairs and International Student Services, is aware of the nationwide downward trend, but says McKendree hasn’t seen a drop.  “The number this year actually improved for McKendree.  We almost doubled our first-year student enrollment over last year’s incoming international freshman!”


2 thoughts on “U.S. Colleges See Decline in International Student Enrollment

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  1. I really hope that this issue is addressed! International students have the important role of breaking down stereotypes and allowing students from all over the world to connect through education and extra curricular activities.

    1. I agree! I think it’s an extremely important program that allows students to broaden their horizons and encourage understanding and respect for all citizens of the world.

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