The Collective Public Policy Voice of the Exchange Community

University World News recently compared two surveys describing the trend of international student admission yields to U.S. colleges and universities. The surveys were conducted in response to widespread concern in the education industry of how recent developments in U.S. visa and immigration policy could affect international enrollment.

The Institute for International Education’s (IIE) Shifting Tides report claims that overall there was only a 2% decrease in the expected number of students who accepted their admission offer this year. This is comparable to domestic student yields, which also saw a 2% decline. However, certain states like Texas, did notice a sharp decline in yield (9%). IIE also stated however, that their survey sample was small and results should consequently be treated with caution.

The second survey, conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) rendered different results, showing an alarming decline in admission yields among international students. According to the CGS survey, graduate deans saw a 46% decrease in international student admission acceptances, compared to only 24% who saw the same with domestic students. Additionally, CGS reported 41% of graduate deans saw an increase in domestic master’s student yields. The admission yields vary by region with 52% of graduate deans seeing declines from Middle Eastern students.

For the students themselves, IIE reported that securing and maintaining a visa is the top priority followed by feeling welcome while in the United States. Unfortunately, both surveys were conducted before the recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed for a partial approval of the Trump administration’s travel ban. Neither report includes data on how the ban will affect enrollment despite international students being exempted.

Additionally, the IIE survey reflects only undergraduate admission results since graduate response rates were low. The CGS survey collected results from member deans of graduate institutions, providing similar, but not directly comparable information to the IIE findings.