Arkansas Universities Report Drop In International Students

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Several Arkansas universities have reported a drop in the enrollment of international students.

The downturn could be a concern for universities that rely on tuition from foreign students, who are typically charged higher rates.

The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville indicates that its international student population was down about 2% from 1,461 in fall 2017 to 1,433 in 2018, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Tuesday. This fall, UA’s international enrollment fell again by about 3% to 1,384, according to preliminary enrollment numbers.

Southern Arkansas University spokeswoman Caleigh Moyer provided data that shows the school’s international student population declined to 397 in 2018-2019 from 730 students the previous academic year.

Thilla Sivakumaran, Arkansas State University’s executive director of global engagement and outreach, said the university had 714 foreign students in fall 2017, but enrollment dropped about 12% to 630 students in fall 2018.

The Institute of International Education’s annual Open Doors report released Monday shows a dip in international students in undergraduate and graduate programs across the country. It found that enrollment of international students fell by 1% in fall 2018 from the previous year. It follows decreases of 7% and 3% in the previous two years.

Some U.S. schools have blamed President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric for driving students away, but State Department officials dismissed the idea.

Caroline Casagrande, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said students are deterred by the high cost of attending U.S. schools.

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