The Trump Effect on International Students: Early Indications & Insights

illustration of an article

by Amit Mrig, Academic Impressions

Much has been written in the last few weeks about the possible negative consequences of the current administration’s policies towards immigration. The travel ban is the latest in a series of actions or statements that include policy changes affecting undocumented immigrants already in the United States and the plans to build a wall on the southern border of the U.S.

Almost universally, reports in the news portend significant concern that the current administration’s policies will dissuade students from wanting to study here, including those students from non-Muslim-majority countries.

Academic Impressions recently surveyed more than 100 enrollment managers and international education professionals to find out what we can learn so far. While it's too early to get exact results, we wanted to get an early indication and put some data to much of the widespread conjecture and concern.

In this article we’ll share a worrisome picture, painted with both quantitative and qualitative data.

What the Numbers Say

Attendees at AI programs and our survey data repeatedly show that the negative effects began well before the first travel ban was signed by President Trump. In fact many of our respondents (stories below) tell us of student concerns that began during the election season as immigration became a key issue and rhetoric against immigrants began to heat up.

The United States' share of the global market for international students has already been shrinking for more than a decade, so these recent developments could very well accelerate this trend.

Here is what we found in our survey of over 100 enrollment managers.

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