The number of international students studying in US universities and colleges increased to a record-breaking 1.08 million during 2016 and 2017, including the 7252 international students attending the University of Buffalo. But last week, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released data showing that new international students, enrolling for the first time at such institutions in 2016, had fallen from the previous year by as many as 10,000.
This is the first time the numbers have fallen in the 12 years that such data has been collected. IIE experts say that a combination of local and worldwide economic conditions, together with more opportunities for higher education in overseas countries are the reasons for the fall.
The Open Doors report, compiled on an annual basis, was based on 2016 data from as many as 2105 US colleges and universities. No direct links were made to the effect of the Trump administration’s immigration policies or attempts to reduce the number of international students coming to the US from mostly Muslim nations, such as Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan this year. But, the report did feature a separate online survey, taken by almost 500 universities and colleges, about the enrolment figures of fall 2017.
Officials from universities and colleges across the US are worried that President Donald Trump’s attempts to limit immigration will seriously hinder their plans for international student recruitment this year and in years to come.