Foreign Student Enrollment Drops For Third Straight Year

US colleges blame Trump, while State Dept. cites high tuition costs

Image Credits: Hill Street Studios / Getty Images.

U.S. colleges and universities saw foreign student enrollment drop for the third year in a row, according to a new report.

Findings of annual research conducted by the Institute of International Education were released on Monday, indicating that enrollment of international students for the fall 2018 semester was down 1 percent compared to the prior year, following drops of 7 percent and 3 percent in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Some schools have reportedly blamed the Trump administration and political climate in the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

However, the State Department says the slip is tied to applications filed during the Obama administration, and that rising costs are primarily to blame.

“What we’ve seen today is a dramatically better picture compared to last year’s declines,” said Caroline Casagrande, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which funds the Open Doors study.

“The Trump administration has dedicated more resources than ever to international student mobility.”

Some 220,000 foreign students were reportedly granted permission to stay longer in the U.S. to acquire post-graduate professional training, up roughly 10 percent from 2017.

“China continued to send more students than any other country, followed by India and South Korea and Saudi Arabia,” the Associated Press reports. “But booming years of growth from China have leveled off. The number of overall Chinese students in the country ticked up by less than 2%, and some campuses have seen major decreases in Chinese enrollment.”

Preliminary findings for 2019 included in the new report indicate that new foreign student enrollment decreased by another 1 percent, and that the total number present in the U.S. fell by 2 percent.

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