University World News: The potential impact of the recent ban on entry into the United States by citizens from seven Muslim countries, signed by US President Donald Trump, could be severe for international enrolments at many US higher education institutions. It will dramatically reduce the number of international students not only from the seven named countries but other Muslim-majority countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were among the top 15 places of origin for international students in 2015-16, according to the Institute of International Education. The domino effect of this ban will result in a precipitous decline in international student enrolment from Muslim-majority countries.
Intensive English programmes and undergraduate programmes are likely to suffer from enrolment decline in students from Saudi Arabia, a key market for US higher education. It was already witnessing a drop in enrolment due to the cut in the Saudi government’s scholarship programme.
The ban will especially hurt graduate schools. This is due to the fact that the majority of the students from the seven banned countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – were primarily enrolled in graduate level programmes. For example, 70% of Iranian students were enrolled in doctoral-level programmes (8,603 out of 12,427) in 2016, according to data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Read more.