Decline in International Student Enrollments into US Schools

A recent survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers found that there has been a 40 percent drop in international applications for the coming school year.  The latest ruling which is being considered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calls for international students to reapply for their visas each year (along with the application filing fee each time) they are in the country, irrespective of the completion of their coursework. They are also going to be expected to attach an end date to the study program, requiring students to re-apply for permission to stay if they move from one program to another such as undergraduate to graduate levels.

Additionally, it is also being proposed that only U.S. citizens receive scholarships to colleges and universities. This coupled with the fact that a future career within the US seems uncertain due to the stricter immigration policies, especially for H1B visas which is largely issued to retain high-skilled workers in the technology sector from the Indian subcontinent, are proving to be discouraging for the international student community who are now reconsidering their academic futures within other countries. This would likely also raise the costs of student visas across the board.

Given that it is going to take an expensive amount of resources to pull this off, this proposal is going to have detrimental effects on the United States as well. Besides, losing up on advantages of diversity in thought processes and cultures, educational institutions are bound to lose a significant amount of tuition revenue. International students contribute a larger percentage, per student, of the actual cost of education than domestic students do. Indian students generated an estimated $5 billion in economic activity and supported 64,000 American jobs according to latest numbers. Overall, the foreign student community contribute $35 billion to the U.S. economy each year.

If this loss is as big as it appear, then the domestic impact is going to be just as crucial  as international. The cost and responsibility of education will fall on the domestic sector making the overall expense of education go up. The privilege of paying in-state tuition as domestic students is going to be challenged if the cost of education falls entirely on their shoulders, not to mention the additional financial burden that will fall on taxpayers.

The latest figures from Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) show that as of May this year, there were 1.18 million international students studying in the US. California has the highest number of foreign students, more than 200,000, followed by New York and Texas, according to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Other states with significant numbers include Massachusetts and Illinois. Nearly half of foreign students — and 84 percent of those from India — are studying science, technology engineering or mathematics.

To answer Frequently Asked Questions about international student visas to the US, refer to for reliable information.