With restrictions on immigrants, Indian applicants at U.S. varsities drops

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The universities in the U.S. have registered a decline in applications from Indian students following rising hate crimes and concerns over potential changes in visa policies by the Trump administration, according to a survey.

The new survey reveals that four in 10 U.S. colleges have experienced a decline in international applicants for the Fall 2017 term. The survey of around 250 colleges and universities—which will be released in its entirety later this month—was conducted in February by six higher-education groups, including the Institute of International Education.* More than three-quarters of institutions surveyed expressed concern about future enrollment.

According to a news release, the survey was initiated in response to fears “that the political discourse surrounding foreign nationals in the U.S. … could be damaging to international student-recruitment efforts.” Indeed, the most significant decline in applicants came from the Middle East, with universities reporting a 39 percent decrease in Middle Eastern undergraduate applications and a 31 percent decrease in graduate applications from the region. The survey was carried out by a coalition of six higher education associations in the U.S. and involved over 250 U.S. colleges and universities.

According to the initial findings of the survey, there was a 26 percent decline in undergraduate applications and 15 percent drop in graduate application from India for the new academic session beginning this autumn.

A complete and final version of “Open Doors 2016” was released March 30. Open Doors is a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the U.S., and U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.

The survey also said India and China currently make up 47 percent of U.S. international student enrollment, with almost half a million Indian and Chinese students studying in the U.S.

From China, there was a 25 percent drop in undergraduate applications and 32 percent drop in graduate applications. There was also a great deal of concern from students and families all over the globe, with the highest number of concerns emanating from the Middle East (79 percent), Asia (36 percent) and Latin America (34 percent).

The most frequently noted concerns of international students and their families, as reported by institution-based professionals, included perceptions of a rise in student visa denials at U.S. embassies and consulates in China, India and Nepal. The idea that the U.S. was now less welcoming to individuals from other countries. There were concerns that benefits and restrictions around visas could change, especially around the ability to travel, re-entry after travel, and employment opportunities, said the report.

Many people feared that President Trump’s travel ban order might widen to include additional countries. The survey was conducted by American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the National Association for College Admission Counselling, International Association for College Admission Counselling, the Institute of International Education, Association of International Educators, and the College Board.

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Born and educated in India, Ajay Ghosh came to the United States to pursue his higher studies in Journalism in 1997. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the School of Journalism at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, his life as a professional journalist began in the summer of 1999 in New York City. Starting as a reporter for India Post, he worked as the New York Bureau Chief of Indian Reporter and World News from 2000 to 2005. Having a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Ajay writes on social and other issues for TheIndianEye.net