The number of new international students enrolling at United States universities and colleges went down by almost 7% last year, according to official data published this month.It’s the second year in a row that the number of new international enrolments in the US has declined, denting a market worth $42bn (£33bn) to the US economy last year.
Prof Simon Marginson, of Oxford University, an expert on trends in international students, says there is “little doubt” this downturn is related to the Trump administration.
He says it’s a combination of the anti-immigration messages putting off applicants and the tightening of the student visa system.The International Institute of Education, which gathers the annual data, asked potential recruits about reasons for not studying in the US, and found a mix of politics, practicalities and cost.
The visa application process was the single biggest disincentive – but also frequently cited was the “social and political environment in the US”.The high cost of tuition was mentioned but so too was “feeling unwelcome in the US” and concerns about “physical safety in the US”.
The biggest falls are from places such as India, South Korea, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.But there’s also been a decline in numbers going to US universities from the UK, Germany and France.What’s really striking about the fall in enrolments is that it’s the reversal of a pattern of growth that has lasted for decades.