International Students Returning to US Colleges in Stronger Numbers: IIE Survey

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Nov 17, 2021 02:01 PM

Colleges and universities across the US saw a 4% annual rise in international students in fall 2021. This comes after a 15% decrease seen last year, which was the steepest decline since 1948, according to a survey by the Institute of International Education. 

A higher number of international students are returning to universities in the US this year although the rebound has still not made up for last year’s Covid-19 declines as the pandemic continues to disrupt academic exchange, as per a new survey.

The survey results released by the Institute of International Education on November 15 found that colleges and universities across the US saw a 4% annual rise in international students in fall 2021. This comes after a 15% decrease seen last year, which was the steepest decline since 1948.

This rise is better than the forecast done by many US colleges over the summer when the delta variant spread. However, this also points out the continued obstacles faced by students including visa backlogs and reluctance of students to study abroad during the pandemic. 

Also Read: US Govt Allows Automatic Job Authorisation for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders

This uptick is hoped to be the starting point for a long-term rebound, as per universities and US officials. Given that international travel has been restarted, colleges are expected to get past their pre-pandemic enrolment levels. 

An acting US assistant secretary of state, Matthew Lussenhop, said that they are looking forward to a surge following the pandemic. This year’s increase is an indicator of the continued importance of US education and the interest of international students in studying in the US. 

Overall, data show that 70% of US colleges witnessed an uptick in international enrolments this fall, while 20% saw declines and 10% saw no change. The same is based on an initial survey of more than 800 schools in the US.

A part of the increase is due to new international students who wanted to come to the US last year but delayed their plans to this year. 

Also Read: US Opens Borders for International Travellers

All in all, there was a 68% rise in the number of newly enrolled overseas students this year, which is a dramatic increase when compared to last year’s drop of 46%.

At some US schools with big brands abroad, enrolments rebounded past their pre-Covid figures. 

The vast majority of US schools returned to in-person learning this fall although not all international students are physically on campus. After last year’s shift to online learning, many US schools have stuck with online classes for students abroad. 

Of all international students enrolled at US universities in 2021, 65% were taking classes on campus, the survey found. 

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Source: The Times of India 

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