“The United States has seen a dramatic rise in the number of Chinese students studying on its campuses over the last 10 years,” writes Xiaofeng Wan, Amherst’s associate dean of admission and coordinator of international recruitment, in Inside Higher Ed. “However, this may soon take an unexpected turn.”
In the coming years, Wan explains, U.S. colleges and universities will likely see a steep drop in interest and enrollment by students from China. Whereas Chinese students constituted a third of all international students in the country in 2018-2019, many teenagers in China are now reconsidering their plans to study in the United States. Their families cite concerns about COVID-19; the xenophobic rhetoric and restrictive immigration policies of the Trump administration; and fears about anti-Asian racism among the American public. Chinese social media sites also spread misinformation about college admissions and Sino-U.S. relations.
“In the absence of national leadership in stopping the spread of the virus and embracing talents from abroad, higher education may need to take on more of the work,” Wan writes. “As the first point of contact, admission officers have a critical role in voicing our welcoming stance and our commitment in supporting international students directly.”