Foreign Students in Trump’s America

January 12, 2017


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As International Educators, many of our students will be affected by American President-elect Trump’s threat to enact a ban on Muslims entering the US, and to further impose strict vetting standards on immigrants from countries he considers “exporters of terrorism.”

..Early in his campaign, Trump called for the elimination of the J-1 Exchange Visa program through which foreign students can work in the US. It is not known if he was referring to the J-1 program as a whole or only to the jobs portion. It should be noted that colleges also use the J-1 Visa to bring in visiting foreign scholars.

..Philip Altbach, a research professor and founding director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, believes the new President will deter foreign students from considering US schools and that it will be more difficult for students who do apply. Mr. Altbach goes on to say he believes the outcome will be that Australia, Canada and other countries, where English is the medium of instruction, will benefit as students direct their applications to countries other than the US. He said the UK is “likely to be in the same situation as the US as it is seen as unwelcoming to foreigners.”

..The number of international students in US colleges is calculated to be more than one million. The Middle East alone sends more than 100,000 students to US universities.  A foreign student applying to universities in California said: “In his campaign, he’s discriminating against Muslim and other brown and black people ….. I’m thinking of applying to Canada“. Another student is quoted: “It’s the main topic of conversation among my friends, ….. They don’t want to apply to the US under Trump“.

ISR Asks: If your students, apprehensive to apply to a US university, asked for your advice, what would  you say to them? Has your school/colleagues met to discuss this topic? If so, what was concluded?