Carmen Neghina
7 years ago

Declining interest from banned country students can cost the US $4B and 48,000 jobs in higher education alone


StudyPortals_The impact of the Trump travel ban on American education

BOSTON, MA (February 10, 2017) – Two weeks after President Donald Trump’s executive order, suspending 7 Arabic countries from entering the United States for 120 days, the interest in American universities by international students, from the affected areas but also from the rest of the world is on the decline.

The search for American colleges and programs from the banned countries has dropped by 56% since the implementation of the ban on the global education choice platform Studyportals. Each month over 3 million students use the website to find their program of interest and the institution offering it.

While these countries only represent a fraction of the international student body, wanting to study in the US, overall global interest to study in the United States has decreased as well since January 28 (-11.08% compared to previous period). Liberal states seem to suffer the most. Interest of international students wanting to study in Massachusetts has decreased by -17.07% and by -12.99% in California.

College Factual calculated that the economic impact from the banned countries alone would be $700 million. NAFSA calculated that international students contribute $ 33 B and 400,812 jobs to the US economy in the ’15-’16 academic year. The total impact of the ban, just in higher education would, therefore, projected to be approximately  $4B and 48,000 jobs.

At the same time, Studyportals also records an accelerated interest from American students looking to study abroad. Canadian universities are leading the list with an average interest growth of +61% one week after vs one week before the country ban, followed by the United Kingdom (+55%) and Australia (+35 %).

State     % change in Canada interest
California +121%
Texas +53%
New York +43%
Illinois +134%
Florida +26%
Massachusetts +59%

For comparison: Studyportals overall user growth was -0.67% within that 2 week period. 

In this context, in November 2016, right after the elections, Studyportals had surveyed 1,300 prospective international students to gain insights into their view on the new president-elect: 57% of the participants mentioned that they are less likely to study in the US because of Mr Trump’s presidency.

While most students still value the good education in the US and the several highly ranked schools, they are also afraid that international students are less welcome under Trump and fear that minorities might be discriminated against.

Just as much as these trends might be a threat to US education institutions, it is also an opportunity for universities to confirm that they welcome a diverse campus and that foreign students are welcome, and in such way contribute to the wider discussion in society.

Press contact

US: Nina Grether | +31 647 4057 02 |

EUROPE: Carmen Neghina | +31 655 875 270 |

About Studyportals

Studyportals is the international study choice platform, enabling students to find and compare their study options across borders. With over 120,000 published courses from over 2,450 participating universities and over 19 million visitors per year, Studyportals is a leading information source for study seekers. Studyportals was initiated out of an international student organization in 2008 and initially focused on the European education market. Since 2014 the organization, with its headquarter in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, expanded its services and is now also covering universities in the US, Canada and Australia and Asia. For universities, Studyportals is a key channel for international student recruitment.

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