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U.S. universities lose students from China

A student walking across a parking lot
Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

"After a decade of booming enrollment by students from China, American universities are starting to see steep declines as political tensions between the two countries cut into a major source of tuition revenue," AP reports.

Why it's happening: The U.S trade war with China and concerns about national security risks "appear to be accelerating a trend that's also driven by growing international competition, visa complications and the development of China's own higher education system," writes AP.

  • Several universities have reported drops of one-fifth or more this fall in the number of new students from China.
  • To adapt, some schools are stepping up recruiting in other parts of the world.
  • Foreign students contribute about $39 billion to the U.S. economy and are often sought after by universities because they don't rely on financial aid.

The big picture: The decline in Chinese students studying in the U.S. is reflective of a larger trend among international students opting to go elsewhere for their studies, a trend also reflected among top business schools.

How some schools are responding:

  • The University of Illinois took out a $60 million insurance policy if enrollment of Chinese students dropped by 20% or more in their colleges of engineering or business.
  • Leigh University hired a recruiter to bring in more students from India after applications from China fell by 6% this fall.

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