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Trumpistan Losing International Students (and Their Tuition Dollars)

After two years of Trump, fewer international students are coming to pay big tuition dollars to soak in knowledge, skills, and a love of America at our universities. The number of foreign students here dropped 2.7% from March 2018 to March 2019.

The drops are not consistent: some states are getting more international students while some are getting fewer. According to another survey, those numbers coincide loosely with Trumpy voting patterns:

Rahul Choudaha, the executive vice president of global engagement and research at StudyPortals, a company that offers an online international student recruitment platform, said it’s difficult to gauge just how much of an effect political factors have had, but he believes the political climate has dampened growth potential from certain source countries. “It’s a scenario of lost opportunity, because from the institution’s side there is clearly an interest to internationalize and attract more international students for a variety of reasons,” Choudaha said.

Choudaha added that another phenomenon to note is “the big getting bigger.”

“There are institutions in the Midwest that are facing a much sharper decline — and a bigger effect of this Trump effect, you might say — but then on the other side there are institutions in California, New York and Massachusetts, and if they are higher in the Carnegie classification, which means they are highly ranked, they are not seeing any effect.”

Among the top 10 states hosting international students, there were increases in the total number of international students (including OPT participants) in No. 1 destination California (+3.2 percent), No. 2 New York (+2.4 percent), No. 4 Massachusetts (+8.4 percent), No. 5 Illinois (+2.2 percent), No. 6 Pennsylvania (+1.3 percent) and No. 7 Florida (+1.7 percent), and declines in No. 3 Texas (-0.9 percent), No. 8 Ohio (-2.8 percent), No. 9 Michigan (-0.7 percent) and No. 10 Indiana (-2 percent) [Elizabeth Redden, “New International Enrollments Decline Again,” Inside Higher Ed, 2018.11.13].

Imagine that: demonstrate disdain for intellect and higher education, and the market responds by sending its intelligent higher education students and tuition dollars elsewhere.

Full-time international student enrollment in Canadian universities rose 15% from 2017 to 2018. Canada’s federal budget directs $148 million over five years to international education; in return, the annual economic impact of foreign students in Canada was $15.5 billion in 2016.


  1. Debbo 2019-04-27 22:01

    We need an intelligent president like Canada’s. Or a smart leader like the governors of California, New York, Massachusetts or Pennsylvania.

  2. Steve Pearson 2019-04-29 12:15

    I have a better idea. How about you move there instead?

  3. mike from iowa 2019-04-29 12:27

    Steve Troll, International is not the same as inbred.

    Why would you goofily suggest Debbo move and then not tell her where to?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-04-29 12:35

    Once again, Steve Pearson expresses the hateful and selfish exclusivity of the angry conservative. He doesn’t want to share America with anyone who disagrees with him, with anyone who doesn’t affirm his worldview at every turn.

    I don’t tell people who disagree with me that they don’t belong in America. My America is big. It is boundless. It has room for everybody. I’d rather it didn’t have lots of mean, angry, exclusive people like Steve, but I won’t tell Steve to leave. I’ll disagree with him, I’ll counter his arguments and explain his false claims, but always with the objective of making him a better American, a better part of the community we share.

  5. mike from iowa 2019-04-29 14:26

    I have said on many occasions, wingnuts like Pearson need to be forced to take a comprehensive and mandatory class in Sesame Street so they will learn to play with and share with complementary colors of people and also learn manners.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2019-04-29 16:16

    “I have a better idea. How about you move there instead?” – Steve Pearson
    Pretty fat talk from someone living on stolen land.

  7. Debbo 2019-04-29 17:20


    Game, set and match, Roger.

    Go home Steve, he aced you.

  8. grudznick 2019-04-29 17:38

    Wasn’t Canada “stolen” too, albeit not by Mr. Pearson or anybody else alive today.

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