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Visa denials for international students increasing

Elizabeth Trovall Aug 3, 2023
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In 2022, the number of international students was nearly 1 million, according to the Institute of International Education, but many student visas were denied. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Visa denials for international students increasing

Elizabeth Trovall Aug 3, 2023
Heard on:
In 2022, the number of international students was nearly 1 million, according to the Institute of International Education, but many student visas were denied. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Last year, the United States denied the highest percentage of international student visas in decades — 35% of applicants — according to the libertarian Cato Institute. Those denied students represent some $26 billion of lost tuition alone over four years. As a new school year approaches, we looked into foreign students’ economic impact.

COVID-19 gutted international student exchange, but that’s changing. In 2022, the number of international students was nearly 1 million, said Mirka Martel with the Institute of International Education.

“What we’ve seen is a fortunate return and international students really coming back to U.S. classrooms,” Martel said.

But the return could have been even stronger.

Two hundred and twenty thousand international students, including an increasing number from India, were denied visas. “This is by far the most number of denials that we’ve ever seen,” Bier said.

U.S. officials in India deny visas more frequently. “There’s a high rate of, I would call it, suspicion in India towards the applicants there and their desire to want to immigrate permanently to the United States,” he added.

Bier said the U.S. is leaving talent and money on the table

Miriam Feldblum with the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration said one way foreign students benefit schools is when a class has just a few American students enrolled, “if there’s five international students as well, then that class goes on.”

And international students pay higher tuition, which is good for schools, said University of Houston economist Steven Craig.

He said they also contribute research, especially in science, technology, engineering and math, benefiting U.S. innovation.

“The rest of the world is working as hard as they can to copy our higher education system,” Craig said.

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