GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — For decades the United States has been a top destination for foreign students, but according to Open Doors, a combination of the pandemic, racial hate crimes, and gun violence has led to a 16% decline in international students studying in the U.S. during the fall 2020 semester.
This decline has some economic impacts as higher education is one of the United State’s largest service exports. According to the Dept. Of commerce, college is a multibillion dollar industry, and in 2019, international students contributed $44 billion to the country’s economy. Locally, foreign students at Colorado Mesa University contributed $3.4 million, according to NAFSA.
Typically, college campuses see a diverse group of international students. However, due to recent political and social events, some students have reconsidered living the American Dream. Similar to the nationwide trend, CMU has seen a decline of international students by 2.3% in 2020 from 2019. Dane Anger, an international student from Singapore, studying at CMU, says, “before I came here, many people warned me and tried to talk me out of it.”
Fortunately the Biden Administration recently issued a statement of support for international education, voicing a “renewed U.S Commitment.” In turn, the blend of students will foster “ideas, different perspectives, and benefits for our students,” says CMU’s Director of International Student Admissions and Programs, Annie Gingerich.
Anger also says almost all international students at CMU are very happy with their decision to study on the Western Slope. So despite some hesitancy overseas, international students have had positive experiences at CMU, and this year, the university expects an overall increase in international student enrollment of approximately 5% compared to Fall 2020.