It is the U.S. economy that hurts international students sharply
The latest report of the American Institute of International Education shows that the number of international freshmen on American campuses has dropped by 43% this fall, highlighting the heavy blow to American universities caused by Coronavirus pandemic and a series of operations by the Trump administration.
There are also data showing that the sudden drop in international student enrollment since 2019 has cost the US economy US$1.8 billion. If this trend cannot be reversed, the US economy, technological innovation, and cultural soft power will be permanently damaged.
The number of international freshmen this fall has dropped by 43%
The latest report released by the Institute of International Education recently showed that the number of international freshmen on American campuses this fall has dropped by 43%, while the overall registration rate of foreign students has dropped by 16%.
A more comprehensive report that reflects this fall’s data will be released next year. The report includes the enrollment status of nearly 3,000 schools, including foreign students on campuses in the United States, and students studying online in the United States or overseas.
Over the years, the number of foreign students studying in the United States has continued to increase. A considerable number of these international students have chosen STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors, especially engineering, mathematics, and computer science.
However, the more stringent visa policies in the United States and changes in attitudes towards international students had already affected the number of foreign students before the outbreak.
Coronavirus pandemic has even played a role in “adding fuel to the fire”, prompting a large number of students to choose to abandon higher education in the United States, and major universities are also in distress.
Since the outbreak, US consulates around the world have suspended almost all daily visa processing, which means that foreign students cannot arrange the interviews required to obtain visas and cannot comply with the interview requirements.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency stated in July that international students from online schools cannot stay in the U.S. with visas.
At the same time, even if the school has only one class that needs to be taught face-to-face, those international students stranded abroad It is also not possible to complete the course remotely.
Subsequently, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology promptly filed a lawsuit in the federal court, causing the Trump administration to revoke these regulations.
In late July, the U.S. government updated its guidelines, stating that foreign freshmen cannot come to the U.S. if courses are taught entirely online, but students who have at least one offline course can take courses in the U.S., and students who have already taken courses in the U.S. can also stay. In the U.S.
But in any case, online learning still caused a lot of confusion. For example, this fall, 20% of foreign students studied online abroad, but the learning experience was very poor. Some were forced to attend classes late at night or early morning due to jet lag; some were often restricted due to network problems.
Therefore, it is not difficult to understand that many foreign students choose to postpone enrollment this fall, hoping to visit the campus in person soon. According to the “Wall Street Journal” report, nine out of ten of the schools interviewed said that some foreign students have postponed their enrollment time from this fall to some time in the future. In total, nearly 40,000 students in these schools have postponed enrollment time.
At the school level, some colleges and universities in New York have been postponing the original start date, and Boston University announced its plan to postpone the start a few months in advance.
Ted Mitchell, chairman of the American Board of Education, pointed out that the reduction in the number of foreign students this fall is “astonishing,” which is not surprising.
Decline in international students cost the U.S. $1.8 billion last year
According to the overall number of international students enrolled in the 2019-2020 academic year released by the American Association for International Education, the number of new students has fallen by 0.6%, which is the fourth consecutive year of decline.
The total number of international students enrolled in the 2019-2020 academic year reported by schools fell 1.8% to 1.08 million, the first decline in more than a decade. The largest decline was in non-degree courses and undergraduate courses such as intensive English learning.
Another report by the Association of International Educators showed that the sudden drop in international student enrollment last year has cost the US economy US$1.8 billion. There are more than 1 million international students in U.S. colleges and universities, and they contributed $38.7 billion to the U.S. economy from 2019 to 2020.
However, the report found that this financial contribution fell by more than 4% from the previous academic year, which is the first decline since the non-profit organization began collecting data more than 20 years ago.
Hafiz Rahani, president of Lakhani Coaching in New York, said that for American colleges and universities, the consequences of falling income may be very serious.
Long before the global pandemic had a huge impact on the economy, the United States drastically cut funding for higher education, causing some colleges and universities to face financial difficulties, putting pressure on schools, and the need to recruit more students who do not need funding. This is why so many universities are beginning to rely on the income of foreign students-foreign students usually pay full tuition fees.
The education news website Hechinger Report conducted a financial stress test on public institutions and four-year non-profit universities in the United States and found that before the pandemic, more than 500 universities across the United States had more than two indicators showing warnings.
Financial problems are particularly prominent in some states. More than 10% of all colleges and universities in Ohio and Illinois face this problem. Ohio has 36 colleges with more than two warning signs, and Illinois has 26.
In the current fiscal austerity situation, major universities across the United States have laid off thousands of employees and declared losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. In order to make ends meet, some schools even canceled the liberal arts education that was once a core curriculum.
It is worth mentioning that in the last academic year, China was still the largest source of international students in the United States, with 373,000 international students, an increase of 0.8% over the previous year and accounting for 36% of the total number of international students.
The New York Times analyzed that universities in English-speaking countries, including the United States, are increasingly dependent on Chinese students’ tuition. However, due to the postponement of qualification examinations and the spread of travel bans, Chinese students and their parents have become more and more laissez-faire towards Western countries’ public health.
The more anger is that the enrollment rate of Chinese students may drop sharply in the next few years, which may cause budget gaps in some universities. People in the industry have already begun to discuss that if Chinese students stay in their home country and these universities cannot get income, the government may need to implement financial assistance for higher education.
Tobin Smith, vice president of policy of the American University Association, said: “This is a global competition for international students. We must be aware of this, otherwise it will damage our position in international competition.” There is also an analysis that international students The loss will not only drag the U.S. economy, but also hurt the country’s proud technological innovation capabilities and cultural soft power.
As MIT President Leo Rafael Leif said, if foreign students give up studying here, it would be catastrophic for the United States to self-destruct: it is precisely in this period of intense economic competition that we are systematically To weaken the advantage that our competitors most envy.