The U.S. Wants Foreign Students (and Their Money) Back
Last year, total foreign enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities dropped by 18% compared to 2019. The drop was largely fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, however, the federal government is worried it’s the beginning of a trend.
Why it matters:
Higher education is one of the country’s largest service exports, generating $44 billion in export revenue in 2019, almost equal to the combined export revenues of soybeans, corn, and textiles, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
In 2020, the above-mentioned 18% drop cost American schools $9.5 billion in revenue, as foreign students typically pay full tuition. On top of that, one in five entrepreneurs who found start-ups in the U.S. is an immigrant, and of that group, three-quarters of them came here as students.
What’s being done:
Unlike the Trump administration, the Biden administration has welcomed international students, calling it a “foreign policy imperative” to keep U.S. schools at the top of the list of international study destinations.
The Biden administration is also putting students first in line for interviews and visa processing at U.S. consulates around the world.