Many US colleges and universities, faced with declining numbers of applications from overseas, are trying to reassure potential international students they will be welcome on campus despite what they see in the news.
Schools are ramping up marketing efforts geared toward foreign students to combat growing fears that President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration reflects a United States that is becoming less welcoming to foreigners.
Nearly half of the nation’s 25 largest public universities saw undergraduate applications from abroad fall or stagnate since last year, according to data provided by colleges to The Associated Press in response to public records requests. Eight schools did not provide data, while six saw gains.“Students are telling us that they don’t feel safe here in the United States. That they’re concerned about discrimination, racism,” said Katharine Johnson Suski, admissions director at Iowa State University, which is not among the largest 25. “This year it was a little more important to make sure that they felt comfortable with their decision.”
Some government officials are trying to tackle the problem, too. Several of the videos feature cameos from state governors or congressional members. A top official from America’s embassy in India penned a newspaper column last week stressing that “US colleges and universities take pride in providing safe and welcoming environments.”
Along with India, fewer applications have been coming from China and Saudi Arabia, which previously sent large numbers to American colleges. Experts say factors at play include economic turmoil in China and India, but some have blamed the downturn on a “Trump effect.”