What Is the Future of International Students in the USA?

Posted on October 7, 2022 By Mathew Berg

The United States has long been a popular destination for international students because of its many resources for academics, career development, and social interactions. Universities and colleges also welcome, invest in and facilitate overseas students. Universities and colleges also welcome, invest in and facilitate overseas students once they successfully provide their credential evaluation.

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However, the global landscape has been changing in the past few years, owing to several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, rhetoric against immigration, and the global standing of the United States. So, what does the future of international students in the USA look like in 2023?

The Future of International Students in the USA

In this blog, we will explore past, current, and building trends to help international students understand what the future might hold for them in the USA.

Concerns during COVID-19

After the March 2020 campus closures, overseas students dispersed, with some remaining in the United States while others continued their education from abroad via distance learning.  Despite having their foreign high school transcript evaluation and fulfilling all other requirements, new overseas students were mostly barred from entering the United States due to travel restrictions and consulate closures. 

Consequently, enrollment of new international students dropped significantly. Some universities and colleges established off-site facilities to accommodate overseas students, while others ensured online learning. These temporary solutions served to soften the damage. However, COVID-19 may have other, more far-reaching consequences for students studying abroad.

The pandemic fueled an increase in acts of prejudice and violence directed toward foreigners, particularly Asians, further undermining parents’ faith in the ability of American universities to safeguard their children.

The Effects of Trump Presidency

Former President Donald J. Trump was among the elected people who publicly blamed the pandemic on China. Moreover, the idea of banning all students from China was floated by Trump early in his term. In his last year in office, he shut down Fulbright exchanges to mainland China and Hong Kong and imposed stringent regulations on Chinese graduate students.

The four years of the Trump presidency, ending in January 2021, were difficult for international students. During the height of the epidemic, the government denied students entry at the border and even considered suspending an employment program for foreign graduates.   

The Trump administration also froze immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries in the first week in office, leaving students and intellectuals stranded.

Fortunately, things have improved for international students under the current government. However, the effects of Trump’s presidency are still felt worldwide in the student and academic communities. Many students are still somewhat reluctant to enroll in American universities.

Good News for Educational Institutes: A Surge in Enrollment!

International enrollments dropped drastically in 2020 but are presently on the rise. Despite declines in the number of overseas students enrolling at US universities in 2020 and 2021, the academic year 2022/23 is expected to see a significant increase in applications for degree programs.

According to ICEF Monitor data, more than two-thirds of universities and colleges reported that application volume has grown from 43% in 2019 to 22% in 2020/21. Only 1 in 10 respondents believed that the number of applications from overseas students had decreased for the 2022/23 school year. Master’s and Ph.D. degrees are in exceptionally high demand. Universities awarding master’s degrees and those awarding doctorates saw an increase in applications from international students.

Institutions are making significant commitments to recruiting and admissions strategies they may not have employed extensively before COVID-19 in an effort to restore their foreign enrollments. For example, the vast majority now accept online applications for enrolment.

Scholarship Provision Is On the Rise

A considerable majority of institutions in the United States are increasing their scholarship offerings to persuade outstanding students to pick them over other possibilities.

According to a recent survey performed in 2023, one-third (32%) of North American business schools now give more scholarships to MBA candidates. Comparatively, 25% of European business schools stated they were increasing their scholarship offerings.

The Bottom Line: A Positive Change is On the Horizon! 

International students not only boost the economy but also the intellectual and cultural environment of American education. These connections and experiences have lasting effects on the individual, social, and even political levels. Educational institutes understand these factors. Therefore, they actively encourage and welcome international students.

Harvard professor Samantha Power published an essay in Foreign Affairs imploring the Biden administration to make a speech reiterating his support for international students and promising to work with American universities to increase the number of international students studying in the United States.

Although Biden has yet to give the address, the US Departments of State and Education said they would pursue a unified national strategy to welcome international students and intellectuals to American schools, promote American study abroad, and support international research. All in all, the future of international students in the USA looks promising. This might be the perfect time to look for opportunities to study in the USA for international students. Start researching for colleges and universities and apply for academic credential evaluation services. Also, prepare ahead to apply for your US student visa if required. Your efforts will pay off in the end as you finally start a new academic journey in the USA.

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