Visa Crunch

The Biden effect – US colleges and universities see a spike in international applications with a bounce-back

After a three-year drought of international applications, 2021 is still looking to be a good year for U.S. colleges. Compared to 2019-20, the volume of foreign applicants has increased by about 9% this year. Most of the top immigrant countries show an increase in applications to US colleges. 

 It has already led some to call this change a “Biden bump,” because of the acceptable signals Biden officials have sent to foreign students looking at U.S. colleges, with their continuing education. Although applications from China have dropped by 18% since last year, those losses are nothing when compared to the significant increase in the number of applicants from several other countries; including India (+ 28%), Canada (+ 22%), Nigeria (+ 12%), Pakistan (+ 37%), United Kingdom (+ 23%), and Brazil (+ 41%). 

Applications have increased from 2019-20 by 10%, reaching 5,583,753 until January 18, 2021. Different applicants, those who submit at least one application, have increased by one percent. Significant increases were seen in major institutions, with more than 20,000 students enrolled. 

American colleges and universities had become accustomed to increases in applications from international students. That changed with the start of the Trump administration and its embrace of several policies on travel, visas, and financial aid that were seen as harmful to foreign students. This was one of the main reasons why everyone was looking forward to President Biden’s election, eventually resulting in reversal of these policies.  

Let’s have a look at some of the executive orders President Biden signed recently: 

  • The ban on travel to the United States has been lifted from most Muslim countries. 
  • Removed Trump’s policy of harassing “religious” communities. 
  • Reversed Trump’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. 
  • With DACA’s protection restored, undocumented immigrants are free from exile. 
  • He stopped funding and building Trump’s wall on the southern border of the U.S. 

U.S. Colleges are exploring the best ways to rejuvenate the country to make it a better host for the foreign student market over the next few years. China may always be the source of a large number of students coming to the U.S., but its growth is likely to be flat. Africa could have a great opportunity, as well as the countries of South America, as well as India.  

Look for colleges to offer more study deals for students from home countries who send a lower number of new enrollments to a given school. Higher tuition paid internationally, even if there is a discount, is one way to fill a lot of lost money. The prospects for American colleges and universities are as good as they have been for years, based on current statistics. 

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