How new immigration policies in the US will affect student exchange programs

“Even students in America are deciding to enrol outside the US”

According to concerned groups, the final rule published last Monday will have drastic effects on international students enrolling in colleges and universities in the United States.

As it is, the list of international students enrolled in higher education institutions in the U.S. fell by over 6% in the last school year. The public believes that the new immigration policies of the Trump administration are responsible for undercutting the demand for higher education from overseas students. Schools report that the low inflow of international students is already in its third year.

Causes of Enrollment Downtrend

Several schools across the United States report that the problems causing the low international student enrollment are the delays in the issuance of student visas and the denials of many F1 applications. There is also the hesitance of foreign students to come to the U.S. for further education because of the current political and social climate in the country. Moreover, even students in America are deciding to enrol outside the U.S.

For the period 2017 and 2018, enrollment of international students went down from 290,840 to 271,740, which is about 6.6%. The data cover enrollment in undergraduate, graduate and non-degree programs. On the other hand, American students enrolling in colleges and universities outside the U.S. increased by 2.3%.

The new data worries Ángel Cabrera, the president of George Mason University and other education leaders in the U.S. In response to the new report, Cabrera said that: ”While other countries work hard to attract international students, we are managing to send a message that talented foreigners are not welcome here, just when we most need them.”

Many education leaders attribute the decrease in foreign student enrollment to the immigration restrictions of the current president, the travel bans, and the issues with the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The Final Rule

Educators and other stakeholders view the final rule, RIN 1615-AA22 or the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, which will be effective starting October 15, will make it more difficult for the immigrants who are receiving some public benefits such as housing assistance, Medicaid subsidy and food stamps to get permanent residency.

The rule contains the guidelines that the Department of Homeland Security must follow to deny an application for U.S. admission or alter the immigration of the people who are already living in the U.S. who could later become a public charge.

Although the final rule affects immigrants in general, they still think that it will still affect the international student population in the U.S. The executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Miriam Feldblum says that since the final rule targets the public benefits, it will affect the housing assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that are available to international students.

The rule does not particularly mention the types of benefits that foreign students can receive such as federal financial aids and Pell Grants.

However, the educators fear that the risk of misinterpretation of the rule will eventually prevent the students to apply for such grants. Likewise, those who hold nonimmigrant visas needing to extend their stay in the U.S. will definitely have a difficult time. This time they have to demonstrate that they did not receive any federal assistance during their first three years of stay in the country.

The risks may not happen but it still is a concern for educators in the U.S. because the interpretation of the rules can change.

For international students applying for an F1 visa, remember that you need transcripts translation among the credentials that you need to submit.

About the author: Bernadine Racoma is a writer for language translation services provider, Day Translations,  which offers precise and fast college transcript translation services that are guaranteed to meet foreign and USCIS guidelines.