The United States saw its international student intake decrease both at the graduate level and at the undergraduate level. For graduate admissions, it went down by 5.5 percent and for undergraduates, it slipped by 2.2 percent. This analysis was done by National Science Foundation. It was based on the government-given data related to student visas. The data is exclusive of students who participate in the optional practical training. This last program permits students from other countries to stay and also work in the United States for a maximum period of three years. The latter could continue under the sponsorship of the university during that period.
This decline happened after multiple steady growth years. The enrollment of international students came down after there were persistent and broad-ranging concerns that the prospective students can face a hostile political climate. There were also mass uncertainties concerning the immigration policies of the United States. These declines, if they continue, will result in negative results when it comes to American competitiveness. The robustness of the US graduate engineering programs, along with their science counterparts, could take a toll. This is as global students make up about 36 percent of the engineering and science students in the United States. They were the recipients of more than 50 percent of all the doctoral degrees which were awarded in mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, and economics.
The other report
The data about student visas offered the maiden exhaustive national scenario of global enrollments for the present academic year. The report is different from another report published by Open Doors, an initiative by the Institute of International Education. It surveys universities in terms of the international enrollments. The data gets reported after a year. Open Doors, in its November 2017 report, stated a decline of 3.3 percent in new international students during the 2016 to 2017 academic year. It also reported a flattened growth.
When IIE asked approximately 500 institutions regarding their global enrollments for the present academic year, the numbers were telling. An average of seven percent decline was reported. This decline, however, was not a uniform one. Approximately 45 percent reported declines. About 31 percent reported an increase, and 24 percent reported zero change. The reason for such declines given by the universities include social and political environments presently prevailing in the United States and also the much more steeper cost of US education. A greater incidence in visa delays and even denials made up the other factors contributing to fewer student numbers.