Regardless of who-knows-how-many studies that have illustrated the benefits of diversity in learning environments, statistics published this past month and discussed in Brendan O’Malley’s article, “Decline of International Graduate Enrollment Quadruples,” show that international enrollment in the United States has declined for the second year in a row.
The decline, O’Malley reports, “coincides with the tightening of immigration policies under the Trump administration,” beginning in January 2017. “The current policy climate around US visas and immigration” as well as the increasing cost of education, O’Malley credits, “may be a contributing factor” to encouraging international students to rethink their choices to study here in the U.S. O’Malley supports this assertion with researchers who’ve noted that “[r]ecent anti-immigration policy directions and sentiments related to curtailing of H-1B work visas and increasing scrutiny of Optional Practical Training (OPT) are largely responsible for this decline” and that “this is triggering a segment of graduate students to reconsider the US as a destination for graduate studies.”
O’Malley’s report follows seven months after his March article, “International Students Turn Away from US, UK, to Canada,” in which he reports that, although the U.S. and U.K. are still the most-preferred destinations when all regions are combined (this past year, the most popular countries in which to study were: the U.S. (48%), the U.K. (42%), Canada (34%), Australia (28%, and Germany (28%)), Canada this past year has overtaken the U.S. and U.K. as the preferred study destination for international students applying from a number of regions.
While this boost in diversity is great for Canada, it’s been the diversity of students in the United States that has made this country a global leader in graduate education and research. With a decline in international applicants and admitted students, it’s not difficult to anticipate the consequent repercussions.