Three Reports Address International Enrollment

Three reports released this week—from the Council of Graduate Schools; the Hotcourses Group; and a group of American education associations led by the Institute of International Education—addressed international student enrollment trends. The reports come at a time when educators are concerned that President Trump's travel ban could discourage enrollments from abroad.

As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed, a survey by Council of Graduate Schools found that 46 percent of graduate deans reported "substantial downward changes" in international admissions yields. Just 24 percent said yields were down for domestic students.

Hotcourses, which publishes websites and guides for students interested in studying abroad, looked at shifts in searches over the last year, and found that the number of students from India searching for American colleges decreased, from 36 percent of all searches to 27 percent. Those students might now be looking at Canada, whose share of searches climbed from 8 percent to 23 percent, the Chronicle reported. Hotcourses found that interest in the United States from the Middle East also declined.

The report by the coalition of organizations found that the yield rate for international undergraduates was down by just 2 percent, comparable to those from domestic students. Nearly half of the 165 colleges who responded to this survey reported declines, while one–third said yield rates were actually up, the Chronicle reported.

Rajika Bhandari, head of research, policy and practice at IIE, told Inside Higher Ed: "The fact that our findings show that in fact there's just a two-percentage-point drop in admissions yield compared to last year to me is a pretty big finding in that it shows us that the situation is not as dire as everybody had predicted. In terms of what does that mean for institutions, it could go either way. What we did hear from institutions is that many of them were continuing to receive acceptances of admissions offers from international students and that the process wouldn't be completed for a while. It could mean that when we look at international enrollments, numbers might be up by a small amount or they might decline by a small amount. It’s too small of a difference to predict a definitive trend this fall."

She added: "Even though it might be just a two-percentage-point drop in undergraduate yield on average, it affects different institutions differently, and it affects different types of students."

In the five months since the ban was announced, colleges and universities have adjusted their recruitment and admissions strategies to prevent declines. A legal challenge to the travel ban will be considered by the Supreme Court in October.


Related Links

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed