The United States has long been the study destination for international students. This is largely due to its high quality education and job opportunities for students after they graduate. The last decade has seen a consistent rise in the number of international students in U.S. higher ed institutions to over 1 million in 2019-20.
However, there was a slight decline in this number from the previous year owing to factors such as increasing cost of education, more student visa rejections and delays, and changes in international student policies by the earlier Trump administration. COVID-19 has significantly added to these factors.
The U.S. administration has been brainstorming on the need and methods to bring back more foreign students to the country, including nearly 200,000 Indian students in 2019-20 as per an Open Doors report.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the value of international education to the country’s economic prosperity, national security, and diplomacy at the 12th annual EducationUSA Forum on July 26. He also underscored the country’s leadership in research and innovation.
Blinken told the U.S. international education sector, comprising 4,000 colleges and universities, that they can “count on” the Biden-Harris administration to do everything “to make your work easier.”
Blinken said the need to strengthen international education is strong and it includes activities such as U.S. students studying abroad, partnerships, and global research. “We can ensure that students from around the world know that they are welcome on U.S. campuses and that U.S. students have many opportunities to benefit from international education here at home and abroad,” he added.
Crossing the 1 million mark for the fifth straight year in 2019-20, international students contributed over $39 billion to the country’s economy in 2020 and bagged an estimated 415,000 jobs, the U.S. Department of State reported.
Indian and international students choose the United States for some of the best academic opportunities. For U.S. institutions, foreign students add diversity and perspectives to not just their campuses but also to their communities. They also get together with their U.S. peers for initiatives and opportunities in STEM, business and trade, and innovation.
As many as 2,000 international education professionals from top accredited U.S. universities will explore and discuss the strategies to attract more foreign students to their campuses to be able to keep the country among the top destinations for tertiary education. The 2021 EducationUSA Forum features sessions on issues such as best practices in diversifying the international student pipeline, global student mobility trends, practical updates for virtual programming during COVID-19, and student recruitment strategies.