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Sunday, September 19, 2021

International applications drop for first time in 12 years

ANH-TRAM BUI / AGGIE

Drop in international applicants coincides with recent presidential election

University of California (UC) international applicants are falling for the first time in 12 years. International students applications for the fall of 2017 dropped by one percent from the prior year to 32,647, a decline of 353 applicants.

Prior to this year, international applicants were rising by 21 percent a year, or an increase of more than 2,500 applicants annually.

The last time there was a drop in UC international applications was in 2004 and 2005 during the Iraq War. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, this drop in international interest for the UC’s coincides with the election of President Donald Trump.

Applications from Mexico plunged by 30 percent, from 140 last year to 98 applications this year. Countries with large Muslim populations, such as the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Philippines collectively sent in 10 percent fewer applications, from 1,727 to 1,561.

“The perception is that this administration wants to keep these students out,” said Melanie Gottlieb, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers deputy director, in the San Francisco Chronicle’s article.

Dr. Wesley Young, the director of services for international students and scholars, believes there are many factors as to why international applications for UC’s are dropping, but that President Trump’s actions do concern many students.

“There are probably a number of factors at play here, but it’s too soon to know for sure about the details,” Young said via email. “However, it’s no secret that many students are concerned about visas, personal safety, and a general sense of unwelcome, as a result of President Trump’s recent executive orders and negative statements about people from various parts of the world.”

Young reassured incoming international applicants to UC Davis that campus leaders are devoted to welcoming and supporting international students.

A number of campus leaders, including the Acting Chancellor Hexter, and the Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor for Global Affairs, Joanna Regulska, have made public statements reminding the community of the campus’ commitment to welcoming and supporting international students and scholars,” Young said via email.

Lennon Zhang, current UC Davis international student and a third-year biological sciences major, is worried about the trend because it could also reflect his personal situation.

“[The drop in international applicants] make[s] me anxious,” Zhang said.

He believes there is a decreased desire because of the legal difficulties and economical struggles of being an international student, which is exacerbated by the election of President Trump. Zhang cited anecdotes of difficulty with his visa and frustration of attaining a job after college.

Young also confirmed that UC Davis staff are travelling abroad to reassure families and students that UC Davis is welcoming all students.

“Undergraduate Admissions staff who are travelling abroad are taking this same message to newly admitted students and their families,” Young said. “The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Adela de la Torre is traveling abroad, also with the purpose of reassuring students and families that UC Davis is committed to welcoming all students.”

Young believes the faculty and staff working directly with international students on the UC Davis campus are welcoming and supportive.

“Staff and faculty are also working daily with current international students in ways that should demonstrate that they are welcomed and supported here,” Young said via email. “We hope this message will make its way to incoming students.”
Written by: Yvonne Leong — campus@theaggie.org

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