According to a recent survey by the American Association of College Registrar and Admissions Officers, students from the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America are “growing more fearful of attending college in the US.” Despite this early signs of decreasing international student applications, current numbers are holding steady. The survey, which polled 250 American colleges and universities, revealed that while 38 percent of the undergraduate institutions and 31 percent of graduate schools reported a decrease in applications from abroad, “35 percent of the schools surveyed reported an increase in applications and 27 percent reported no change at all.”
If the total applications of international students to American colleges and universities does drop, it will be the first time in a decade. When looking closely at students from particular regions, those from “India and China, who account for nearly half of all international students, say the “perception of a rise in student visa denials at US embassies and consulates” is source of worry among applicants and their families.” Not surprisingly, students from the Middle East “reported the highest increase in anxiety about enrolling in US universities” due to perceived Muslim threats.
Still, the actual affect from the new administration may be felt sooner than later. Evelyn Levinson, American University’s international admissions director who saw no measurable change in applications gave a stern warning. While numbers seem to be steady now, it may be a logical reason for that. “By the time of presidential elections in November, most students have already applied for colleges, or made up their minds about whether to apply,” she says. “The true impact will likely be in what we see for applications for fall 2018 and beyond.”
Only time will tell what happens from a group of students that contribute $36 billion annually to the US economy according to the Institute of International Education.