Foreign students have shown less enthusiasm for America since Trump took power

CHICAGO (AP) – On a recruitment trip to the Tech Hub of Bengaluru, India, Alan Cramb, president of a prestigious University of Chicago, answered questions not only about hostels or tuition, but also on American work visas.

The session with parents fell into the chaotic months of Donald Trump’s presidency. After the opening address Announced “America First,” Two Travel Ban, A suspended refugee program And signs of restricting skilled labor visas widely used by Indians, parents doubt their children’s futures in America

“Nothing is happening here that is not being seen or interpreted around the world,” said Cramb, who heads the Illinois Institute of Technology, where half of the student body of international scholars has been.

The US was considered the premier destination for international students, with promising top universities and unmatched employment opportunities. Nevertheless, 2016 began to ease the decline of new enrollees, hoping to continue with new regulations limiting student visas, competition from other countries and a reckless coronavirus response. The impact on the workforce will be considerable, experts predict, no matter the outcome of the November election.

Trump has arguably changed the immigration system more than any US president, thrilling supporters with a nationalist message and confusing critics who call his signature issue of insular, xenophobic, and even racist The approach says. Before the election, the Associated Press is investigating some of his immigration policies, including a ban on international students.

For fear that colleges With the declining tuition and companies that worry about losing talent, the broader impact is hard to determine: America is losing its luster globally.

“It was not as attractive as it once was,” said Dode Iwa, who is studying high school in Calabar, Nigeria.

Unlike the two older siblings, who left for American schools, aspiring pediatricians are focused on Canada. In the US, she fears bullying for being an international student and a black woman.

Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller predicted that after a COVID-19 vaccine, a better economy would attract talent.

“Our improved economic status means that the world’s most talented doctors, scientists, technicians, engineers, etc. will all consider the United States as their first country,” Miller told AP.

According to the Association of International Educators, or NAFSA, 5.3 million students study outside their home countries, a number that has doubled since 2001. But US shares fell from 28% in 2001 to 21%.

New international students in the US have declined for three Straight Years: A 3% drop in the 2016 school year – nearly a decade – followed by a 7% and 1% decline, according to the International Institute for Education, which released an annual November report. The declining snapshot of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows a 13.7% drop in international students.

The government cites high college costs, but students and school leaders tell another story.

At the University of Chicago IITs identified for engineering, computer science, and architecture, there was a 25% drop in international students from fall 2016 to fall 2018.

The camp has noted changes in the campus. More international students want to return home.

The epidemic has only exaggerated things, including a short-lived Trump administration rule requiring international students To leave whether their schools conduct online-only classes. Students panicked, universities protested and lawsuits followed.

The Department of Homeland Security unveiled the draft rules, implementing the student visa conditions set last month. Instead of being valid when enrolling students, visas may be limited to four years, with students from countries including Iran and Syria eligible for two years.

Federal officials say this is a way to fight fraud and eliminate visas. But colleges call it another obstacle.

Rachel Banks, NAFSA Director Rachel Banks said, “Right out of the gate, you had the first travel ban, and what was really rhinestone for students and scholars, in what was perceived as rhetoric, actually the actual policy. And will create a tremendous amount of uncertainty. ” . “Can I complete if I choose to study in America?”

Many assurances have not been received.

The Trump administration has introduced curating optional practical training, a popular program allowing international students to work. According to the Institute of International Education, roughly 223,000 people participated in 2018-19.

This month, the administration announced plans Limit the H1-B skilled-workers visa, which is often a route for foreign students. This June-order was portrayed as a way to address epidemic-related job losses after temporarily suspending H1-Bs.. It is prosecuted.

Democrat Joe Biden has promised to reverse some of Trump’s immigration orders. They obtained more skilled-worker visas and gave citizenship routes to foreign graduates of American doctoral programs.

Wofai Eva, brother of Dode Eva, a senior IIT officer studying mechanical engineering, wants to stay in the US, but is worried about his options. He understands his sister’s suspicions.

Trump’s derogatory words Immigrants have harassed him, including the tone around a January regime. To curb family based immigration from Nigeria and other countries.

“He commented about Nigerian immigrants getting jobs and this created a strange tension among those who wanted to come here,” he said. “It puts us in a bad light.”

According to the 2019 Institute of International Education Survey, approximately 60% of US college students contributed to the decline of new international students.

The majority of the colleges surveyed said that the difficulty of obtaining US visas was also to blame. According to the State Department, in 2015 Trump shrunk from around 700,000, with less than 400,000 issued student visas last year.

There are signs of diminishing interest in India for the US, which, along with China, provides the most international students globally.

In 2018, about 90% of Indians studying abroad chose the US, less than 5% in Canada. For the 2021 school year, about 77% plan to study in the US, and about 14% chose Canada. According to a survey by Yacht, a Mumbai-based startup that helps nearly 400,000 Indian students plan to study abroad.

Yoquet co-founder Sumit Jain said there is still widespread belief that America is unmatched for the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but students have backup these days.

Many countries have made it easier for international students.

Canada allows foreign scholars to count part of their schooling toward a residency requirement for citizenship. The United Kingdom allows them to stay for two years after graduation while seeking work. In the summer, Australia announced a route for citizenship for Hong Kong students.

“They are trying to convey certainty and flexibility to their international students, and unfortunately, we are conveying uncertainty and rigor,” said Sarah Spuritzer, a director at the American Council of Education.

This has major consequences.

International students contributed approximately $ 41 billion to the US economy in the 2018 school year. NAFSA estimated that since 2016, the decline in new international students has cost the US approximately $ 12 billion and at least 65,000 jobs.

In response to this, college leaders formed the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in 2017.

Cramb, the group’s co-chairman, is a Scottish expatriate who earned his Ph.D. At the University of Pennsylvania. He became IIT President in 2015.

“The biggest thing that happened to me was coming here,” he said. “What we are doing is enriching the education experience for all.”


Associated Press reporter Elliott Spaget in San Diego contributed. Follow Sophia Tauren on Twitter:


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