University of California system sees drop in applications from international students

University of California system sees drop in applications from international students

Decline comes after 12 years of steady increase.

Applications from international students to the University of California have fallen for the first time in 12 years.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the drop-off coincides with the election of Donald Trump as president and contrasts with more than a decade in which international applications rose by an average of 21 percent a year.

International undergraduate applications for next fall at University of California system campuses dropped by 1 percent from the prior year to 32,647, a decline of 353 requests. Applications from Mexico plunged by 30 percent. Countries with large populations of Muslims collectively sent in 10 percent fewer applications.

A similar decline appears to be happening at campuses across the nation, according to a survey of 261 colleges and universities by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Nearly 40 percent of those schools reported a drop in international applications of at least 2 percent; the greatest decrease is among students from countries in the Middle East.

“The perception is that this administration wants to keep these students out,” says Melanie Gottlieb, the association’s deputy director. Admissions officers reported that would-be applicants expressed concerns about “negative rhetoric around the Muslim faith, and immigration changes — even before the (aborted) travel ban” from Muslim-majority countries.

Some students from abroad fear they could get stuck if they returned home to visit their families.

About 1 million college students from other countries, or 5 percent of total enrollment, study in the United States, according to the Institute of International Education.

The population has risen steadily for decades, but has soared by 41 percent since 2009. California colleges host more of those students than any other state — about 150,000, the institute reports.

Last fall, the University of California system admitted 17,339 freshmen from other countries to its nine undergraduate campuses; 83 percent came from 21 countries.

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