A Declining Trend of International Students Moving To US

The current sociopolitical affairs in the United States have impacted the proportionality and new enrollment of International Students studying in the US – not surprising at all considering the effort that has gone into worsening the immigration policies by Donald Trump.

Due to the questionable circumstances, the United States has declined or lost a grand number of students to its neighboring country Canada – will it be successful in snatching the number one spot from the United States? Well, that remains to be seen.

How can the United States remain the most feasible international spot to finish higher studies when you have several Scandinavian countries readily providing free education to overseas students?  We all are acutely aware of economics’ politics – the United States has notoriously become dependent on the tuition revenue, which it earns from the enrollments of its international students.

In fact, the situation continues to worsen because not only is the United States unable to attract international students but even its national students are now crossing the border to complete higher education – which is available at a comparatively lower cost. A survey confirmed that the number of students choosing to move outside the United States to complete their education has increased from 800,000 to 4.5 million.

Do you know that as per another survey, the number of international enrollments has dropped significantly? Like, it’s gone down at least 43 percent! That’s a highly alarming sigh for the United States of America, and if the nation fails to come up with an instant plan, it might be too hard to control the rapidly declining number.

One must also keep in mind the pandemic and pre-pandemic trend in mind – one knows exactly how the US literally abandoned its international community at the time of the crisis. During the pandemic, there was a sharp decline in international enrollments – both remote and within the US.

Interestingly, one in five international students is currently studying from their native countries.  And here’s when things become tense – roughly 40,000 international students filed for a deferral during the lockdown.

Allan E. Goodman, who is the president of the Institute of International Education, has revealed that he is worried about these numbers as they’ve never decreased at such a rapid pace. However, he was hopeful that once the pandemic ends, the numbers will gradually go up and resume their pre-covid trends.

Right now, students are concerned about the finances and the restrictions imposed on traveling. Thus, instead of dealing with the anxiety of traveling abroad, international students have decided to defer their plans for now.

The Association of International Educators of the economic impact of international students has found similar statistics in terms of the sudden and rapidly growing decline. This has led to the estimated loss of $38.7 billion to the economy of the United States.

It seems like the news was not really surprising because this has been a trend for the last four years. International students and scholars have had to deal with the travel ban and other executive orders, which have stirred conversations regarding the rising xenophobia and racism in America.

The regulatory actions are highly detrimental and raised serious concerns amongst the international community. Besides, the government’s lack of coordination and poor involvement during the pandemic has made the students even more anxious.

Students outside the United States expected the enrollment policies to be revised after the election of President Joseph Biden but it seems like that the rectification of the academic policies isn’t on his agenda. Maybe, in future, we might be able to see some changes. Donald Trump was a bad chapter of the United States history – a chapter that will be remembered for all sorts of idiocies.

It may come as a surprise to many, but the man who was fighting to close the borders was apparently committed to attracting international students. Donald Trump once said that the universities in the United States welcome the international community warmly and are some of the best in the world in terms of quality.

According to Anthony Koliha – the director of the Office of Global Educational Programs at the State Department – the Trump administration heavily invested in hosting international students throughout the tenure and actively worked on improving the country’s reputation in such regards.

In the year 2019, students enrolled in STEM fields made up approximately 51.6 percent of all the international students. It can be seen that engineering, computer science and mathematics are amongst the most sought-after programs, followed by business and management. However, in the last few years, due to the exponential increase in tuition fees, the statistics have dropped.

In the last year, there were one million international students enrolled across all educational programs, and this figure is double what it was in the year 2000. Now, this statement might sound contradictory to everything that we’ve been saying so far, but we must also keep in mind the fact that the population of the United States has also doubled since then.

No one can deny that there is a significant capacity for campuses to host more international students – thanks to more resources.

We’ve already established how there’s been a sudden decline in the trend of international students moving to the US. Now let’s get on with ways in which it could be detrimental to the country.

Weaker Economy

Look, international students contribute $41 billion to the US economy – that is at least the reported figure. The last aspect of the previous sentence needs to be emphasized considering the amount of taxes students have to pay to federal, state and local governments.

This clearly shows that the decline in international enrollments will massively impact the country’s economy – it might even break the backs of several American colleges and universities. Furthermore, the revenues generated by local businesses will end up creating a lesser scope for employment.

Poor Innovation

We all know how much students contribute to innovation – they’re literally the pioneers with the foresight and ability to predict future trends. International collaboration is significant when it comes to innovation – the USA thrives on diverse experiences and information from different mindsets and cultures. The fusion of such varied experiences leads to innovation.

This became a hurdle, especially during the pandemic – traveling stopped and stringent restrictions made it rather challenging to create new things and spread knowledge. This also impacts the economy! How? Well, all the major economists at the World Bank estimate a humble 10 percent increase in the overall number of international graduates in the country.

Research and development are literally the backbone of invention – currently valued at $2 trillion in the USA. It might sound like a huge number to you right now but here’s the shocking fact: This percentage is twice the times lower than what it was in 2000! So, you can understand that the great nation has gone two decades back with its research and development processes. And when you enter international partnerships and contributions, the number would be even more difficult to digest.

All in all, we can say that the United States is losing its credibility and international students no longer find it to be their safe heaven – the place where they could find freedom and enlightenment.

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