Earlier this year, Indiana University administrators couldn’t say whether the current political climate was causing declines in the number of applications for graduate programs from international students. A new survey released this week shows it’s affecting the decision of at least some high school age students.
A Royall & Co. survey of more than 2,100 international students conducted in February found the current political climate made about one-third of them less interested in attending a college or university in the U.S. Royall & Co. is a division of EAB (formerly Education Advisory Board) that provides consulting services for higher education administrators.
Among those who said they were less interested, nearly 70 percent listed concern about the administration of President Donald Trump as their top reason. More than half said they were worried about travel restrictions for international students. Concerns about personal safety and the cost of studying in the United States were also among the most common reasons cited for declining interest.
More than 40 percent of students in India said their interest has decreased because of the current political climate, the largest percentage of students in any country included in the survey. That segment of the report caught the eye of John Wilkerson, IU’s director of international admissions, because of recent incidents of violence directed toward Indian nationals in the U.S. One of those instances, a Feb. 22 shooting in Kansas in which witnesses said a man identified as Adam Purinton yelled “get out of my country” before killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding two other men, one of whom is also from India, occurred while data for the survey was still being collected. The other, in which an Indian man in a Seattle suburb reported being shot in the arm and told to “go back to your own country,” happened March 3, after data collection had ended.