Fewer foreign students are coming to the US and it's definitely hurting America's Universities and the economy. It seems the decline of international students' enrollment has been sliding since 2016.
It has cost the American economy $11.8 billion and more than 65,000 jobs, according to estimates from NAFSA: Association of International Educators and International Associations of Professional Educators.
According to Rachel Banks, director of public policy at NAFSA, there are various reasons for the decline but mostly its been the policies and rhetoric from the current administration that has driven the numbers in that direction.
A NAFSA survey showed there's a belief among international students that being able to get a visa for the US has become more difficult and they do not feel safe in America.
It's not just the anti-immigration rhetoric that is being expressed by the administration, there's a growing concern about gun violence in the country.
There have been a number of shootings and worldwide response shows parents are taking all this into consideration when it comes to deciding where they want to send their children to study.
New enrollments of international students have declined by 0.9% in the academic year from 2018 to 2019 which followed a 6.6% decline in new enrollments in the previous year according to the recent US Department of State Open Doors Report.
This is the first time the United States has seen a 3-year decline.
Both the Trump Administration and Caroline Casagrande have a different explanation for the decline in enrollments.
Caroline Casagrande is the deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs.
In a call with reporters, last week, she said the Trump administration has made more efforts than ever before to reach out to international students and to mitigate against the increasing rise in costs for education in the United States.
The loss of international students is definitely harming universities financially. According to California State University Northridge, the decline of international students between 2016 and 2019 has resulted in a 26% revenue loss if around $6.5 million.
Statistics have shown that for every 7 international students, 3 US jobs are created and supported by spending in areas such as higher education, accommodations, retail, transportation, and dining.
With more than one million international students enrolled at the US universities have led to the contribution of almost $41 billion to the economy and supported 458,290 jobs between 2018 and 2019.
International students are significantly important to the school budget as universities and colleges collect higher tuition.
For instance, Peninsula College in Washington State international students are charged around $10,000 tuition fees in one year while students from the state are charged $5,000.
This trend is very troubling for a number of reasons that must be turned around. While the budget is a problem, colleges do value what international students bring with them to these schools including their culture.
Luke Robins, Peninsula College President, said there are several factors that contribute to the decline including the US dollar being at an all-time high in comparison to other currencies.
This is a significant reason why these students are choosing other countries over the United States, as it poses a greater value proposition for them.
According to Jack Huls, VP for student services at Peninsula, above and beyond all else, the leading factor is politics. Where other countries have strong enrollment, it's become more difficult for students to get visas in the US.
Huls believes there are politics at play including domestic issues as well as politics between the US and China. Worldwide competition for international students is on the rise according to NAFSA.
While the growth rate of students studying in the US is on the decline, competitors are experiencing double the growth.
Other countries including Canada, Australia, and China have created proactive recruiting strategies and are actively bringing in more students while the US seems to be shying away from attracting international students.