Texas

Texas universities see decline in international applications

HOUSTON (AP) - International applications to public universities in Texas have dropped by at least 10,000 over the past year, and some school officials cite President Donald Trump as a cause.

A review of university data by the Houston Chronicle shows a 12.5 percent decrease in applications from international students last fall. That compares to a 30 percent increase in applications from 2013 to 2016.

A sluggish global economy and greater competition from other countries have impacted applications, according to analysts and campus administrators. Some have also said Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric has created an uninviting environment.

"Up to this year . anyone who started looking elsewhere, it was partially because of the money," said Rebecca Grappo, a Colorado-based international education consultant who works with foreign students and families. "Now what I'm hearing, it's almost all because of the atmosphere."

A survey found that one-third of more than 2,100 high school juniors and seniors globally said the current political climate makes them less interested in enrolling in a U.S. university, according to enrollment management firm Royall & Company.

The University of Houston saw a decline in applications, but the school said it admitted about the same number of international undergraduates. The school's former admissions director, Jeff Fuller, said the country's politics has made some international students uncomfortable.

"How accepting would a campus be of an international student when everything they see on TV shows 'build a wall'?" said Fuller, who left his admissions post in May.

Laylan Copelin, a Texas A&M University System spokesman, in an email that "despite any declines in applications from international students, there are still more qualified applicants than our universities can serve."

But some universities fear the smaller application numbers will lead to smaller numbers of foreign students on campus.

"It is a cause for concern across all universities," said Yvette Bendeck, the associate vice president of enrollment management at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. "Everybody's talking about how to approach the shift that we're seeing globally ... interaction with people of different backgrounds is an experience people should have when they're in the classroom."

International students make up a significant portion of diversity on campuses and can show a university's prestige and reach. They also pay out-of-state tuition, so they're an important revenue source for universities.
 


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