The Trump administration’s latest attempt at implementing restrictions on travel from a set of Muslim majority countries has caused new roiling on campuses across the nation, despite being temporarily halted through court action, similar to the first so-called travel ban. The ban and the culture of enforcement that has accompanied both bans has injected anxiety into both students and administrators alike.
Preliminary Survey Results Don’t Look Good
A report released last week by a coalition of six higher education associations showed that 39 percent of colleges and universities reported declines in applications from international students, with the highest declines occurring from Middle Eastern applicants.
The survey of 250 institutions is preliminary and will be released in a final report later this month. Even so, the decline in international applications is causing concern.
“Internationalism is at the heart of the U.S. higher education experience,” said Melanie Gottlieb, deputy director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, which led the survey.
Economic Damage Caused By The Travel Bans
While American colleges and universities are often vilified as hotbeds for liberal elitism, we forget that our 8,000 learning institutions constitute an enormous economic engine. US manufacturing has been declining in importance since the 1970s, but higher education has countered that trend dramatically. Our postsecondary schools will generate more than $550 billion in revenues in 2017, growing to $700 billion by 2024—a multiple of the American automotive industry’s contribution to the economy. The 4.1 million people working at colleges and universities—from teachers and scholars, to administrators, to food service professionals, to engineers and construction workers—is roughly the same number as those employed directly and indirectly in the US auto sector.
Colleges try to reassure international students
Canadian Schools Capitalize
Meanwhile, colleges and universities to the north are finding that they have become unexpectedly attractive to international students seeking higher education in the west. Canada has rolled out the welcome mat and it appears to be paying off.
Applications from international students have increased at universities across the country, said Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. Traffic to the Universities Canada website, an entry point for many people looking for more information about schools in the country, has doubled since November. Many of the most elite Canadian universities had large increases in applications from the United States: Up 25 percent at McGill, 35 percent at McMaster. At the University of Toronto, U.S. applications increased almost 80 percent this year.