America is currently facing a drastic drop in the number of international students studying at all levels of education and has long been considered one of the major educational destinations. The key reasons this is happening are the current pandemic and the latest reforms that dilute aspiring students’ zeal in the U.S. immigration system. The administration says that the decrease is due to high tuition rates, although the improvements in immigration policies are credited to students and the universities. The pandemic has just worsened the chaos for a significant number of overseas graduate students.
The Decline in Enrolment for International Students
According to a study conducted at more than 700 campuses, the number of new international students studying at U.S. colleges dropped by 43 percent this fall. However, there was an overall 16 percent decrease in international student enrolment. This is the largest decline reported by the International Education Institute, an institution that since 1954 has released statistics on international enrolment. Because of the decline in the graduation rate, many top colleges in the U.S. suffer huge losses. The number of foreign undergraduate and graduate students declined at Michigan State University by 20 percent and at the University of Texas by 17 percent. Arizona State University and the University of Ohio State both posted a 15 percent fall.
Studies by the International Education Institute illustrate that new international students’ enrollment has declined over the last three years. There was a 3 percent decline in 2016, which was the first fall in enrolment noted in the whole decade. It was followed in 2017 by a 7 percent decline and in 2018 by a 1 percent dip. The 2019 fall figures show a 13.7 percent decline in foreign undergraduate students.
Changes in the Effect of Immigration Laws on International Students
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made drastic changes to student visas, which are likely to alter immigration regulations dramatically for international students as they come into effect. The most disturbing move is that the DHS would have discretion over whether student visa status extensions should be permitted. The new government has also introduced regulations curtailing Voluntary Practical Preparation, which encourages international students to work upon completion and obtain international experience.
International students have since been prohibited from applying for student visas from their home countries by the international visa issuance moratorium owing to COVID-19. Besides, the dramatic reforms proposed in the category of professional labor visas serve as a barrier to international students who fear difficulties finding future jobs in the U.S.
School officials accepted that a significant explanation for the decline in international student attendance was the pandemic. And students worry that the U.S. is no longer accommodating, owing to the reforms in immigration legislation. For universities that risk declining tuition and for industries that worry about losing talent, this low college enrollment rate is a problem.