COVID-19 has drastically cut international student participation in U.S. colleges and universities, punctuating three years of declining enrollment tied to costs, immigration barriers and perceived chaos in American society.
In the school year that began three months ago, new enrollment of international students dropped 43% because of COVID-19. Nearly 40,000 students — mostly incoming freshmen — have deferred enrollment at 90% of U.S. institutions to a future term.
The data were compiled and reported by the Institute for International Education and published in its annual Open Doors report about international students in the U.S. It is funded by the U.S. Department of State, which issues visas to students and visitors participating in educational or vocational training.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted international student enrollment,” IIE report stated. “Many international students studying at U.S. institutions took advantage of opportunities to begin their studies remotely.”