School’s out, but universities are still fighting for their international students in wake of travel

Yahoo News

June 28, 2017

"After federal judges blocked the nationwide enactment of the first ban and then of its successor, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear arguments in the case this October. In the meantime, the justices upheld the ban for foreigners who have no relationship to the U.S. and who have not previously visited the country. Those with ties to America, presumably including students at American colleges, will be allowed in, for now," reports Yahoo News.

"...After the 2016 election cycle, Joseph Helble, dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, began noticing 'substantial declines' in the number of international graduate student applications. He contacted more than 25 deans at other engineering schools, who reported similar declines in applications.

"'We’ve not seen a situation like this in my 20-plus years as an academic, when international applications have declined dramatically, other than in the immediate aftermath of 9/11,' Helble said.

"The dean knew that he had to do something to retain the international students who had been offered admission, so he recruited faculty and students to engage with admitted students and reassure them that they’re welcome at a U.S. institution.

"'You are the world’s best and brightest,' Helble tells them. He noted that he won’t have comprehensive data about whether those retention efforts have been successful until the fall semester, when students arrive on campus.

"Because the composition of engineering programs tends to be heavily international, they can more accurately reflect trends on how international students view education in the U.S., Helble said.

"The Dartmouth engineering dean remains optimistic about the short-term effects — noting that he thinks the yield of accepted students who choose to attend his program will remain the same as in previous years. But he’s worried about the potential long-term effects, noting that it’s not just about colleges, but about the U.S. economy.

"'Engineering, science, STEM grad students are the next generation of tech developers [and] leaders,' Helble said. 'If we cut that talent out, we're starting far fewer companies, not offering economic growth opportunities.'"

Alisha DSouza
As a Dartmouth PhD candidate, Alisha D'Souza conducted research on non-invasive methods of staging cancer.

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