In addition to concerns about declining student populations in many regions in the U.S., some colleges and universities are now having to grapple with a steep drop-off in international student enrollment.
While overall foreign enrollment reached a record high in 2014-15, top feeder countries China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia are facing a confluence of factors that analysts say will soon drive down the number of students from these countries in U.S. institutions.
- The Wall Street Journal attributes the decline to fluctuating foreign currencies, “the ups and downs of far-flung economies” and increased competition from international institutions.
In recent years, many institutions have increasingly looked to international partnership agreements to attract international students — who bring the full sticker price of attendance in cash — to campus. These students have been relied upon to help close budget shortfalls and balance out the rising number of U.S. students reliant upon some type of financial aid.
But now foreign agencies are tightening their scholarship awards to students hoping to study in the U.S., drying out the once-reliable funding stream of revenue for U.S. institutions. This presents a real challenge for institutions, particularly those already struggling with a drying pool of eligible students in their own regions.