The University of Iowa

In the news: where have all the international students gone?

March 22nd, 2017

By Isabella Senno, The Daily Iowan 

Across the nation, 39 percent of colleges are experiencing overall declines in the number of international student applications, according to a survey released in late February by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

At the University of Iowa, this trend may also be being felt, with slight dips in both undergraduate and graduate student demographics.

“Attribution [of the cause] is very difficult when you’re analyzing trends in international admissions. It is so multidimensional; there are country-specific factors that would have an impact,” said Kirk Kluver, director of UI Undergraduate Admissions. “There’s other macro factors, economic, political factors … that can really impact students.”

The survey reported drops in applicants from three areas — the Middle East, China, and India. According to Kluver, undergraduate application numbers are currently split across the board with decreases in China and increases in India, with Middle Eastern countries are either staying steady or dipping slightly.

These dips in Chinese applicants are significantly impacting the number of expected first-year applicants for fall 2017. Kluver said that in the fall of 2016, the UI hit a record 5,000 international applicants by the end of its cycle, and currently the projected number of international applicants for fall 2017 is approximately 3,700, a loss of about 1,300 potential students.

This decrease in undergraduate applicants may simply be a natural plateauing.