CBO - Winter 2017

Trending: International Student Enrollment +/-

(source iie.org)

“U.S. Hosts More Than A Million International Students for the Second Consecutive Year; International Student Enrollment Shows Signs of Flattening…”

There has been much anticipation as to how a Trump presidency would impact the international student population for studies in the US amid the new policies for immigration and travel bans. The International Institute of Education (IIE) recently disclosed a report on the enrollment expectations of international students for US post-secondary institutions for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Top U.S. states hosting international students:

According to the IIE Report, “for the second consecutive year, U.S. colleges and universities have hosted more than one million international students, reaching a record high of 1.08 million. This also marks the eleventh consecutive year of continued expansion of the total number of international students in U.S. higher education,” the study says. Post-secondary schools, particularly in the U.S. have always been an appealing destination to international students, given their pristine reputation and the often recognized and respected success of their alumni.

The report, however, also points out that, “while the overall number of international students has increased, the number of new international students – those enrolled at a U.S. institution for the first time in fall 2016, declined by nearly 10,000 students to about a 291,000, which represents a three percent decrease from the previous year.” However, there are several factors, which have lead to the decline such as a mix of global and economic conditions, and in some instances include expanded educational opportunities for students at home.

In a separate online enrollment survey with nine other education associations in September and October, based on the 500 colleges and universities that participated, it was determined the overall number of students enrolled flattened, and showed an average decrease of seven percent in the number of new enrolled students. “But these numbers were not evenly distributed: 45 percent of the campuses reported declines in new enrolments for fall 2017, 31 percent reported increases in new enrolments and 24 percent reported no change from last year.”

Top places of origin of international students:

But for Canadians who are seeking to study internationally in the United States, the low international enrollment rates from around the world could offer some relief in lieu of the weaker Canadian currency. International students benefit U.S. communities, colleges and universities, in many ways, including economically. In 2016 international students brought $39 billion to the United States economy, through their spending on tuition, room and board and living expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In graduate programs, their roles on campus as teaching and research assistants support the faculty in many departments, especially in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and their diverse perspectives help enrich classroom learning for U.S. students. For all the right reasons and as the “next door neighbour” to the U.S., Canada’s high school students are increasingly becoming more attractive to the U.S. recruiters and are the perfect audience for institutions looking to do so. The marketing efforts, recruitment strategies and incentives currently offered by the higher education institutions across the U.S. are all contributors to maintaining the international population; this trend will certainly continue.

Top U.S. institutions hosting international students 2016/17:

“International student exchange is an essential contributor to America’s economic competitiveness and national security. The U.S. higher education sector remains the global leader in welcoming students from around the world, and at the same time, we are committed to increasing opportunities to study abroad for Americans,” said Alyson L. Grunder, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Policy in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We need to develop the talent and skills necessary for 21st century careers. It is in our national interest to build and grow the international relationships and networks that are key to addressing the global challenges and opportunities we face going forward. 

In a statement appearing on their website, IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman states, “students continue to be attracted to the high quality and diverse opportunities offered by U.S. colleges and universities. But it is critical for U.S. institutions to set strategic goals and be proactive in reaching out to students and families in a wide range of countries in the coming year, and for the United States to keep its academic doors open to students from all over the world.”1

The top host states were California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. Each of these states saw increases in international students in 2016/17.

This same report indicates that Canada ranks fifth as one of the top ten countries of origin for international students studying in the U.S., along with China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico and Brazil round out the list. But the current U.S. travel ban affects eight countries, and despite the fact that students who have been accepted by U.S. universities are exempt from this ban, it still leaves international students from these regions concerned, and fearful which has them seeking education, elsewhere. While the U.S. institutions of higher education are fighting the travel ban, it makes clear the importance and the impact that international student populations have. Students from Canada, due to the geographic proximity and easier access to immigration, are an appealing option for schools when recruiting internationally. Canadian students will benefit from incentives that the institutions will implement to attract international students.

By Lindsay Moore

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