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Foreign Students Have Begun To Shun the United States (axios.com) 756

In a potential threat to future U.S. innovation, new international enrollment at U.S. colleges is down for the first time in more than a decade, according to a new report. From the report: It is the first hard sign that the Trump administration's rhetoric may be frightening away some of the world's best and brightest who traditionally have been drawn to settle and work in the U.S. Why it matters: "The Chinese whiz kid, if he can find a way to America, he'll come here. If you're good, you can make a lot of money," Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, tells Axios. "That whole set of incentives has always been tied to the immigrant stream, and we're severing that connection." By the numbers: The findings are from the Institute of International Education's annual Open Doors report and its smaller joint "snapshot" report on international enrollment. It found that new international student enrollment dropped by 3.3% for the 2016-2017 academic year, and by a far higher 6.9% in the Fall 2017 semester.
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Foreign Students Have Begun To Shun the United States

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  • Sure.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with the exploding cost of education, it must be all Trump's fault.

    • Re:Sure.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:45AM (#55562047)

      Many of these people will be on a grant. So, yes, it has nothing to do with education cost. It is not all Trump's fault though, Bush did some preparation too and Obama did not do enough to counteract.

      • Nota Bene: Many != All.

      • Many of these people will be on a grant. So, yes, it has nothing to do with education cost.

        I was curious how much truth there was to this. Here's what some quick Googling turned up:

        Financial Aid: FAQs [collegeboard.org]
        In 2014-15, about two-thirds of full-time students paid for college with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships. Approximately 57 percent of financial aid dollars awarded to undergraduates was in the form of grants, and 34 percent took the form of federal loans.

        International Stu [usnews.com]

    • by poity ( 465672 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:22AM (#55562441)

      You're researching schools because you want to study well and succeed.

      Are you put off by:
      A). What Trump said about illegal immigrants from Mexico and about Muslims?
      or
      B). Viral, million view videos of activists storming libraries, disrupting campus, screaming at professors, screaming at fellow students?

      Now imagine yourself as a parent who will be footing the bill. Are you put off by the former or the latter?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:49AM (#55562721)

        The alt-right smear campaign against higher education and exorbitant tuition fees are likely both factors, but I think that the recent surge in anti-immigration rhetoric plays a major role. A large fraction (as in, vast majority) of international students are graduate students. Many of them are master's students, who do pay a huge tuition rate to study in the US, and then a good chunk of them go back home. These students are basically just a revenue stream used to subsidize the tuition of domestic students. A 7% decrease here can easily be offset by hiring slightly fewer faculty/lecturers going forward and raising tuition on domestic students by maybe 2-3%.

        But the students who matter most from an economic competitiveness perspective are the PhD students. PhD students don't pay tuition--they get paid. PhD students aren't going to be scared by viral videos--they have already spent years on campuses and know full well that the alt-right boogeyman's depiction of campus life has little semblance of reality. Yet enrollment among this crowd is way down. Moreover, in the past year, I have personally helped three exceptional PhD students from my institution find advisors in Canada and Germany so that they could complete their studies outside of the US. Their reasons for wanting to move had nothing to do with tuition or viral videos; they had to do with feeling welcome/safe, having their family be able to visit, etc. These people will create jobs and help drive economic growth somewhere; just not here.

    • Re:Sure.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:35AM (#55562577)

      Often these kids will be on a big set of grants. Either from the college to get the best and brightest. Or from their parents government to give these kids a top education so they come back as the best and brightest. Now say 80% return to their home it is a benefit for the home country and the 20% that stays in the US is a benefit to us.
      And those who returned to the home country they returned with a better understanding on what America is and see us beyond what the nation will have us portrayed as, for good or for bad.

    • Re:Sure.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:36AM (#55562581)

      I'm sure it has nothing to do with the exploding cost of education, it must be all Trump's fault.

      Whataboutism! I work for a UK University and we're seeing a rise in international students + our education costs are also skyrocketing. I don't know anyone who wants to travel to the states at the moment precisely because you elected a bigoted troll who's making a luaghing stock of your country.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ghoul ( 157158 )

        Trumps Granddad was an illegal immigrant, deported once for running a brothel in Oregon and sneaked back again and got into the construction business. Wonder why Trump is so much against illegal immigrants. I believe the lady doeth protest too much.

  • Correct. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:18AM (#55561813)

    To us over here, going to the US now is like going to Germany in 1937 or something.

    - I don't want to end up in a concentration camp ("black site") when flying over.
    - Nor do I want to be anally fisted at touchdown. (The 9/11 terrorists did not land, now did they?)
    - Or live among hyperselfish pschopaths. (I am basing this statement on research.)
    - Or risk dying because I do not have $500,000 for a pill or simple operation.
    - Or pay $500,000 to get an education that is free in my country.

    Yes those are hyperboles. ... Sometimes. :P

  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:20AM (#55561845) Homepage

    And as we close the door ever tighter against the rest of the world, they'll discover that they don't really need us, anyhow. They'll walk right past us and wonder how it ever was that people used to risk their lives to come here.

    • It's about time we had a true multipolar world instead of the American bully telling everyone what they can and can't do. This arrogance has been pissing a lot of people off for a long time and the applause will be long and loud as we get our comeuppance. Finally the world will get to keep its smart people to benefit their own instead of having them stolen away by the evil empire.
      • The US has its faults however those who replace them as 'world spokesman/ world hegemony' like China are hardly shining beacons of freedom.
    • Except that if you look at a cross section of foreign students, they aren't always the 'best and the brightest' and come here for any number of reasons. Some believe they will be getting the best education at a certain institution and others may do it for prestige or perhaps as a path to citizenship. There are probably numerous reasons that I haven't mentioned but without looking at who is coming here and why the gross statistic doesns't tell us very much.
    • we've pretty much got everything needed for a modern economy. Even the rare earth minerals. The only reason we're getting them overseas is they're willing to abuse their population more than we are resulting in cheaper prices. China isn't better at manufacturing, they're more ruthless at it. Same with Mexico.

      OTOH the rest of the world _does_ need us. China can't feed their population without our grainery.
  • Disaster (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:21AM (#55561851)
    We need the brightest people we can get from everywhere in the world. Making the path easy and affordable for the best foreign scholars makes good sense. Every week we see major breakthroughs in science and technology announced from American research universities. Usually we see teams of three or so scholars being credited with the work and almost always the foreign names dominate the announcements. We need these people. What we do not need is an idiotic congress and senate being paid to accomplish nothing who are simply paid off traitors by special interests.
    • How is this just? How on earth are these other countries ever supposed to get ahead while we rob them off their best and brightest? We cherry pick while their people suffer under tyrants because all the people capable of resisting already left for America. It's high time this robbery came to a halt.
  • by ReneR ( 1057034 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:31AM (#55561935)
    Since Trump's election I intentionally avoid al business (or holiday) travel to the US. At least we Europeans got to vote with our wallet. No need to support corrupt politicians, and their hateful followers. Many other pretty places in the world to visit and make friends.
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:32AM (#55561947)

    Beyond Trump, maybe it's the general mood of Trump-haters and angry activists of all kinds versus Trump supporters and angry defenders of all kinds.

    Why come to a country where everyone is angry all the time?
    Why come to a country where no one can ever be happy?
    Why come to a country where all the stories are about catastrophic environmental destruction?
    Who wants to come here to be told they're a victim every day based on something that happened before they were born in their own country?
    Why come to a country where succeeding financially is considered evil?
    Why would a young person join a group that only talks about historic grievances and never about future opportunities?
    Why come to a country where the leaders and entertainers and celebrities all seem to be among the worst examples of humanity?

    Why not go to a country with good people and a good social atmosphere instead?

    • by Tempest_2084 ( 605915 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:54AM (#55562761)
      You actually raise some good points, and I think this is the symptom of a bigger problem. This is probably a bit of hyperbole on my part, but it seems like you are literally not allowed to be happy anymore. It like there is always someone or some group out there that seems to exist only to tell you why you should feel bad about something. It doesn't matter what your political, sexual, or religious preferences are, you MUST feel bad about something. That kind of attitude really starts to wear on you after a while and leads to a nation full of angry and unhappy people. This isn't a new phenomenon, it's been slowly growing for the past 15+ years or so, but lately it seems to be in overdrive. It's going to come to head eventually, and I wonder what will happen then.
  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:38AM (#55561997)

    Put up walls, block out the rest of the world. It means you're limiting your society's access to knowledge and resources to those that are available inside those walls. This means you tend to develop socially and technologically at a slower pace than larger populations, and you tend to grow xenophobic which makes future interactions with the rest of the world more likely to be unfavorable.

    Obviously the US isn't disconnected from the world entirely, but you guys certainly seem determined to blow up as many bridges as you can.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:42AM (#55562029)

    "I could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot someone, and people would still vote for me."

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of man the people of the United States freely, willingly and knowingly chose as their President. That actually says a lot more about the people of the United States than about Trump himself.

    Can you blame anyone in the rest of the civilized world for being freaked out by the fact that half the people of the country he's supposed to go live in for a few years clearly show signs of serious mental health issues ?

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @01:02PM (#55564065)
      To be fair, any politician from any country could stand in the middle of Fifth Ave. and shoot someone, and they would still have some people vote for them. A small subset of voters are just weird like that.

      Trump is just irreverent and unconcerned about his image enough to state that fact, while most politicians wouldn't touch it for fear of it costing them votes. I mean I share your low opinion of him. But if you consider how politicians over the last couple decades have degenerated into not having any real fundamental ideology, instead basing their positions on whatever polls best, I can see why a lot of people would vote for Trump. The man is unlike any other politician - he forms his own opinions and isn't afraid to state them no matter how unpopular it might make him. That is one of the traits of a leader, and I can see how some people are attracted to that.
    • by eaglesrule ( 4607947 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:00PM (#55566033)

      Trump made a candid statement about the reality of partisan politics, which reflects the situation on both sides. A statement which appeared not to conform to a doctrine of maintaining both a public and a private position that you would expect from a more experienced politician.

      This is now to be conflated with Trump harboring homicidal tendencies and a false belief that he is above the law, and that fully half of the US population endorses this while also suffering from mental illness. This is in addition to the adjectives already used to describe the now infamous basket of deplorables.

      Then, when such hyperbole gets mod +5 insightful, it only reinforces the notion that meritocracy matters little to those who put partisanship above all else to the point of becoming blind fanatics. Where there is no value to be had in honest political discourse, but only hate filled rhetoric that drives more distrust and more disinformation to the point where voting becomes purely an emotional reaction.

      So no, I wouldn't completely blame someone in the rest of the civilized world for having the wrong impression.

  • After all, this is US. The rest is just THEM.
  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:04AM (#55562247)

    I'd say it's probably the latter. See, whiz kids get scholarships. Even the international ones can get scholarships and stipends.

    Fu Er Dai (kids of nouveau riche) however, need to pay full price, and often do it with a newly bought American house paid in full with cash by their parents. Now, with US housing prices at historical highs, coupled with the Chinese economy cooling off, not as many families find it a good investment.

    Add to this the growing perception that overseas degrees aren't worth all that much [chinadaily.com.cn] (mainly due to the fact that every dumber-than-a-brick Fu Er Dai has gotten one), and you can easily find explanations to the dip in numbers without alluding to Trump's rhetoric. And that's even without pointing out the fact that the trend started before last year's election.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:08AM (#55562285)

    We don't need no smart foreigners, we got Trump - he's the smartest guy in the room - just ask him, he'll tell you! He's so smart he can do the thinking' for all of us and have brain cells to spare!

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:12AM (#55562331) Journal

    First of all, this article has a very biased viewpoint.

    Foreign students have begun to shun the United States

    That is stating that foreign students are making the choice to not attend schools in the United States. The data says no such thing. It is likely the same number of students desire to be educated in the United States as before, but there there are other factors that stand in their way (like having to enter the country through the legal processes).

    Further, the article states "worth noting" (IE if they didn't state it they would be too blatantly guilty of expressing their bias without proper facts) that the big schools are affected "much less" than smaller schools that do not have Ph.D. programs. So considering the "best and brightest" are usually those seeking Ph. D. programs at the bigger schools, well, this isn't affecting the "best and brightest" at all.

    The effect was much more pronounced in the Midwest and Texas, she said, especially at schools without Ph.D. programs, and at community colleges.

    Ahh, now we get to the truth of it. This is about illegal immigrants from Mexico, which were attending smaller schools like community colleges. Isn't this to be expected? If it is harder to illegally enter the United States, and immigrants actually have to follow the policies that have been in place for decades, then less immigrants will be coming in, and thus we would see a drop in foreign enrollment at these kinds of smaller colleges in that specific region of the country.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      We're talking about students that enter the country legally, in comparison to other students that have entered the country legally. That hasn't changed. You hypothesize that maybe the same number want to enter, but are deterred by things that haven't changed and didn't deter their predecessors. You then make up the idea that this is about illegal immigration, which it isn't.

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