Home > Uncategorized > The “Trump Effect” Could Devastate Colleges and Graduate Schools

The “Trump Effect” Could Devastate Colleges and Graduate Schools

March 17, 2017

Steven Saul’s NYTimes article today describes a phenomenon being called “The Trump Effect”:

The president of Portland State University, Wim Wiewel, met last week with 10 prospective students in Hyderabad, India. But what started as a get-acquainted visit quickly turned into more of a counseling session, as the students expressed fears about coming to the United States this fall.

One student, who is Muslim, said his father was worried that America had an anti-Muslim attitude, Mr. Wiewel recounted. “Several others said they were concerned about the ‘Trump effect,’” he said in an email.

“I’d say the rhetoric and actual executive orders are definitely having a chilling effect,” Mr. Wiewel wrote, referring to the Trump administration’s travel ban.

Like many universities across the country, the Oregon university is getting fewer international applications.

Nearly 40 percent of colleges are reporting overall declines in applications from international students, according to a survey of 250 college and universities, released this week by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. The biggest decline is in applications from the Middle East.

The article cites the financial impact this decline in foreign students could have on schools, especially on graduate programs where foreign students bring in $32,000,000,000 to the economy. Mr. Saul offers some data on graduate school enrollments:

Slumping graduate school applications can now be seen at universities ranging from giant Big Ten public universities like Ohio State and Indiana University to regional programs such as Portland State, with just over 27,000 students, including more than 1,900 international students.

At Indiana University, international applications for undergraduate programs increased 6 percent, but graduate applications for some programs are posting big drops, said David Zaret, vice president for international affairs.

Mr. Zaret said international applications to the masters program in business were down 20 percent, and down 30 percent in both the master of law program and at the School of Informatics and Computing. The university will not have problems filling the programs, but the drop might affect the overall quality of the applicant pool, he said.

Mr. Saul’s article included several quotes from graduate school officials who attributed the declines to other factors that “the Trump effect” and also cited grad school deans who were concerned that the “yield” of incoming foreign students might be lower than usual because many students who were accepted before the President issued his Executive Order on immigration might re-think attending college or grad school in the US.

Far worse than the loss of revenue is the loss of our country’s reputation one that welcomes individuals of all races and colors. As the college official above indicates, universities are unlikely to have problems filling their programs, but they might have a lower quality of applicants as a result. And as the quality of their applicant pool diminishes, so, too, does the quality of our work force in the long run. And so, too, does the quality of life. As President Trump would say: “Sad”….

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