UA: Applications from international students down this year

By Taylor Klusman

The Razorback Reporter

The UofA has seen a decrease in applications from international students this year, a trend shared by many other universities across the nation.

The first early admissions letters for the freshman class of 2022 have been sent to numerous accepted students, but the most recent travel ban went into effect Oct. 18.

Nearly 820,000 international students were enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities in the 2012-13 year, according to Pew Research Center.

This decrease occurring at many US universities could have a large impact on the country, given that international students bring over $32 billion a year into the U.S. economy, according to the Institute of International Education.

Only two years ago international students numbered 1,545, while as of 2017’s fall semester there are 1,461 international students.

“Overall enrollment is also on a positive trajectory,” Jim Coleman, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said. “Nearly 6,000 students earned degrees last year, and this fall we welcomed nearly 5,100 freshmen. So, once again the university has record enrollment, but we are starting to see that our efforts to stabilize our growth are having some success.”

While total enrollment may still be increasing, the UofA is not alone in this decline of international students applying to US colleges.

“This is a fantastic time to be at the University of Arkansas,” UofA Chancellor Joseph E. Steinmetz said during his State of the University speech in September before the latest ban was announced.

Nearly 40 percent of the 250 colleges interviewed reported seeing a drop in applications from foreign students, according to the results of a survey initiated by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Other universities, such as Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh which is ranked in the top seven schools that attract the most international students, show a continued increase in their population of foreign students.

In the time span of a year, fall 2015 to fall 2016, Carnegie Mellon rose by 220 international students, one of their slower years for foreign students that still manages to outnumber even the highest jump the UofA saw in the past 10 years.

“Applications continue to increase, though we are aiming for freshman classes of 5,000 for the foreseeable future,” Suzanne McCray, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions, said of the New Arkansan NRTA.

The University of Southern California has among the highest international student population among US universities, according to Michael Quick, USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“We are proud to have, and we are better by having, a richly diverse community.  We will do everything we can to ensure all of our academic community can continue to study, research, and teach at USC,” Quick said.

One of the UofA’s major scholarships, the New Arkansan Non-Resident Tuition Award, is granted to incoming freshmen with a 3.30 or higher cumulative high school GPA and an ACT score of at least 24 or an equivalent 1160 SAT score, but this does nothing to encourage international attendance.

“It is the same award, though we have tightened the requirements over the last couple of years,” said McCray.

In 2016, the US saw more than 65,000 people from countries now listed on the travel ban immigrate to the US or use visas, which are now also banned.

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