US Colleges face drop in International applicants, says survey

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AACRAO published the key findings of their trending topic survey.

Amid anti-immigrant rhetoric and the uncertainty over President Trump’s immigration policies, foreign student’s applications to US colleges are seeing a sharp decline, according to a new survey.

The American Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO) published the key findings of their trending topic survey in International Applicants for Fall 2017 – Institutional and Applicant Perceptions. It says that applications from Middle East, India and China have been affected.

The inter-associational member survey launched in February 2017 by a coalition of six higher education associations gives a snapshot of foreign applications to US higher education institutions. More than 250 US institutions responded to the short survey.

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According to AACRAO, 39 percent of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35 percent reported an increase, and 26 percent reported no change in applicant numbers.

“Institutions report the highest declines in applications from the Middle East. Open Doors data from 2015/2016 academic year indicates that there are more than 100,000 students studying in the US from the Middle East, making up just under 10% of our international student enrolment nationwide,” the report read.

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The snapshot survey indicates that applications from India and China have also declined. Twenty-six percent of institutions have reported decline in undergraduate applications from India and 25 percent reported application decline from China. Graduate applications decline from China and India was 32 and 15 percent, respectively.

“Open Doors 2016 indicates that these two countries currently make up 47% of our international student enrolment, with almost half a million Indian and Chinese students studying in the US,” the report says adding that International student recruitment professionals report a great deal of concern from students and families all over the globe.

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The highest number of concerns emanating from the Middle East (79 percent), Asia (36 percent), Latin America (34 percent) and it includes the apprehension that the executive order travel ban might expand to include additional countries.

AACRAO will publish the complete and final report on this topic including more elements of the survey and comments from the participating organizations by March 30, 2017.