How Biden Could Help Reverse the Drop in International Student Enrollment


A recent article by Forbes investigated how the new administration could affect declining international student enrollment at U.S. universities. Surveys showed that the enrollment of new international students declined by 43% in Fall of 2020 mostly due to issues surrounding COVID-19. There has also been a series of Trump administration policies that have made education in the U.S. much less attractive to international students. Surveys also reported a 72% drop in the new enrollment of international students physically in the United States.

Universities claimed that new plans for international education and employment-based immigration brought forth by the Biden administration could reverse the trend.

Will Enrollment Improve Before Spring Semester?

Alan W. Cramb, president of Illinois Institute of Technology, touched on the risks universities face should the pandemic prevent students enrolled in Fall 2020 from coming to U.S. campuses for the Spring 2021 semester in an interview. While some consulates are said to be opening for visa interviews in India and Europe, there will still be difficulty and they may close down again. 

Will News of the Vaccine Help Enrollment?

Cramb also expressed the promise of the vaccine in the interview, noting “This will make a difference eventually and we all hope that Fall 2021 could be more normal – if there will be a more normal situation in the future.”

Compounding a Trending Decline in the U.S.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the Forbes article touched on how the United States had fallen behind other countries in attracting international students. For four consecutive years, U.S. universities saw a decline in new enrollment of international students compared to Canadian universities which saw an increase before the pandemic. 

How Will Policies from the Biden Administration Help?

The article explained how certain policies from the Biden administration could reverse the U.S. decline in international students, including the following options:

  • Rescinding the Trump administration’s proposed rule to limit study in the U.S. to fixed periods of admission
  • Rescinding a new rule from the Department of Labor designed to inflate the salaries of international students and others who seek H-1B status 
  • Rescinding a DHS rule that would make it difficult for foreign nationals to qualify
  • Withdrawing a proposed rule that would end the H-1B lottery
  • Developing a national strategy for recruiting international students

Focusing on preventing the decline in international student enrollment is vital to the success of the United States as they provide needed revenue, help retain professors interested in pursuing research, and provide a source of talent for companies in the country.

U.S. universities believe that with the right set of policies, America can reverse the decline in international students. Contact The GIG Law Firm for more Los Angeles immigration law expertise and help evaluating your case.