International students less interested in US after Trump election
The election results are giving prospective students pause for thought as they have gained a more negative perception of the US as a study destination. In a survey of over 1,300 prospective students, run by global study choice platform Studyportals, 57.7% of the respondents now say they are less likely to pursue a degree in the United States as a result of the elections. Most students are concerned that the US is becoming less welcoming to international students and minorities, while others now have an unfavorable view of Americans in general. As a result, they are now considering alternative study options in Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia.
When asked about the perceived value of a US degree, prospective students don’t see it affected by the political climate, and most students agree that the US higher education system will not be greatly influenced by President-elect, Mr Trump. Prospective students believe that universities should continue to encourage diversity, tolerance, critical thinking and dialogue.
“Universities should now create more diversity and multicultural activities to teach ALL students the importance of understanding and respecting other cultures.” (American student)
“Studying abroad enriches not only the lives of international students, but also connects societies and shapes a more tolerant world. The US is a front runner in international education: for the first time, there are more than 1 million international students in the US. We hope that the future administration will continue to support valuable international educational initiatives, like the 100,000 Strong campaign which supported 100,000 American students to study abroad in China and Latin America” said Joran van Aart, COO of StudyPortals.
The more optimistic prospective students believe that Mr Trump can have a positive impact by making the US an even stronger country. This sentiment sometimes refers to the education climate, where they believe he can increase access to financial aid and scholarships for lower-income American students.
“I think there will be a positive change. Mr. Trump being a businessman, I strongly believe he will make sure that the field of education is improving more than before. The education system will be run based on economic theories which will improve the results and reduce unnecessary expenditures.” (International student)
Overall, country image plays a large role in the decision of where to study; yet, at the moment, the future is still uncertain and the US higher education system has proven quite resilient over the years. Universities can play a key role in emphasizing the benefits of a diverse classroom and international experience, thereby attracting high-quality international students to the US.
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