There has been a craze among the students for pursuing higher studies in the USA. This has been due to the great courses available in the USA and the work opportunities available after finishing the course. These factors have led to the popularity of the country as a place to pursue higher studies. However, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted this trend. It is due to this global pandemic that the appeal of pursuing higher studies in the country has lessened for some international students.
Reasons for the drop in the number of international students
The concerns that the students and their families have in the present scenario is related to health care, visa status and immigration. All these factors have contributed to the drop in the admission of international students in US educational institutions. This has struck a great blow to the nation which was a popular destination for pursuing higher studies.
Effect on USA universities due to pandemic
The various colleges and universities in the USA have relied on the large number of international students who came from all around the world to pursue higher education. However, due to the pandemic, this situation has been reversed. However, it has been found that the United Kingdom and Canada have a competitive edge over the USA. The USA has been hit the hardest among the countries that are hailed as destinations for higher education by international students.
Research shows that more than a million students studied or were engaged in research work in the United States last year. When the pandemic caused a lockdown in most parts of the world, about ninety per cent of these students remained in the USA.
It is however too early to determine the effect of the pandemic on the US education system. However, with the data collected one can understand that the number of international students enrolled for under-graduate and post-graduate courses has declined.
According to a report, there has been a 45 per cent drop in the interest of students who wanted to study in the United States. This is the biggest drop since 2017. The top countries where international students go for higher education are the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. All the countries witnessed a decline but they bounced back too. However, that is not the situation in the USA.
Due to this scenario, there is a great drop in revenue and also a decline in its reputation as a destination for education. $3 billion is the estimated amount that the educational institutions can lose in 2020 due to the drop in enrolment of students.
Visa policy changes
The Coronavirus numbers began to rise in the United States. President Trump’s travel bans and the student visa policy changes further led to the development of uncertainty in the minds of international students. Since international travel is not advised at the moment, the students who will be coming to the USA for higher studies may be denied to get on a flight to the US or may be denied to enter at the US Point of Entry. The student can ask for a travel support letter from the department at the university where he/she will be studying. This letter does not mean that you will be given entry. But this is additional proof.
The US Department of State has temporarily suspended all kinds of visa services worldwide. There are very limited visa appointments available. However, this will hopefully change with time.
The majority number of international students in the USA is from India and China. And both the countries have been targeted by Trump administration with visa and immigration restrictions.
Time alone will tell what will be the status of the USA as a destination for higher learning among the students. However, the administration needs to focus on developing student-friendly rules so that the students can again think of going to the country for higher studies.
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