Nov 18, 2019 - Economy & Business

International college student enrollment falls for third consecutive year

Students at George Washington University

George Washington University students. Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A new Institute of International Education report shows that the number of international students newly enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities fell by 1% last academic year, per AP.

Why it matters: The drop marks the third consecutive year that enrollment for international students dipped, following 7% and 3% decreases in the two previous years, which were the first downturns in more than a decade.

  • Downturns in international enrollment can disrupt universities' budgets, many of which rely on tuition from foreign students who typically pay higher tuition rates than U.S. students.

What they're saying: Caroline Casagrande, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, told AP that international students are deterred by the high tuition costs at U.S. universities.

  • Meanwhile, some universities say the Trump administration's immigration rhetoric and the U.S.-China trade war has turned international students away.

Details: Students from China continue to attend U.S. universities more than any other country, followed by students from India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Yes, but: While fewer new students are enrolling, more international graduates are staying for professional training and work. In 2018, more than 220,000 graduates were granted permission to stay for temporary work through federal programs after graduation, an increase of about 10% over 2017.

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