Last year was a busy and difficult time for international higher education. Many universities in the US feared a decline in international student enrollment and increased recruitment efforts to combat the possible decline. Every year the US faces more competition as the leading destination for international students.


In 2001, the US hosted 28% of all international students followed by United Kingdom at 11%. Today, the US hosts 24% of the international student population. Countries like China and Canada, which previously hosted less than or around 2% now host 10% and 7% respectively.


The 2016/17 school year did see a drop in international student enrollment: going from 300,743 to 290,836. However, the total number of international students studying in the US did increase, if only slightly, from 1,043,839 to 1,078,822.


We saw slight increases in the number of international students studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels during the 2016/17 year. The biggest decrease came from non-degree international students with a 14.2% drop. However, the number of students studying OPT increased by 19%.


There are many factors that can contribute to the decrease in international student enrollment: political climate, increased competition and cost. About 60% of funding for international students comes from personal or family funds.  Affordability, is one of the top concerns for international students. Rising tuition costs that exceed the rise of aid and general inflation has had an impact on domestic student enrollment with numbers dropping for yet another year.


There are many challenges higher education faces when it comes to enrollment both domestic and international. There have been many predictions as to what will happen this year within higher education, including the resilience of small colleges and rise in community college enrollment. What changes do you foresee taking place for the 2018/19 school year?


By Ashleigh Cue