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April 18, 2024

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University sees a decline in international graduate students

The University has seen a decline in graduate students. However, it may be from a decrease in international graduate students deciding to study in America altogether.

The international graduate student enrollment for 2016 was 170 students, according to the 15-day enrollment report given by the University. The new enrollment for the same group dropped 24.7 percent to 128 students, according to Keith Ramsdell, director of student enrollment in the graduate college.

Conversely, domestic new graduate enrollment is up from 773 students in 2016 to 797 in 2017.

Ramsdell considers political conditions to be a “perfect storm for international students,” because there are now many factors that encourage them to look to countries other than the United States to find a graduate school.

Marcia Salazar-Valentine, the executive director for International Programs and Partnerships, also attributes this decrease to many factors: “economic impacts both local and globally, changing trends in the educational arena such as improvements in higher education overseas, getting visas.”

Ramsdell also points to President Trump’s discussion on making the HB1 Visa, or work visa, much more difficult to get.

“This hasn’t happened, but still fewer students from India are interested,” he said. “They want to continue working here after they graduate.” If there are changes made to the HB1 Visa, they may not be able to do that.

Ramsdell also mentioned a shooting that occurred in Kansas in February 2017. A man shot two Indian men outside of a bar, and it was ruled a hate crime.

“This gained a lot of attention in the Indian media,” Ramsdell said. He thinks students remember this incident and are becoming more cautious about where they want to study, despite Indian students “feeling completely safe on our campus.”

Many students from India are looking to study abroad, so the University spends their time recruiting there. Chinese students are also a major contributor to the population on the University campus. The University does most of their international recruiting online. Engineering, mathematics and computer science are the most common fields of study for these students.

A decrease in international students is a nation-wide trend. According to an International Graduate Application and Enrollment packet written by the Council of Graduate Schools in January 2018, fall 2017 was “the first time in more than a decade (that) both international graduate applications and first-time enrollment at U.S. institutions declined.”

According to a New York Times article, this nationwide decrease is causing tough financial choices in these schools. Schools in the Midwest have been hit the hardest.

Ramsdell said the University will have to “diversify” to make up for this loss in international graduate students, to “not depend on India and China. We will have to look domestically and at other countries.”

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