Simpson sees decline in international student enrollment

by Zoe Seiler, News Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The number of international students enrolling in U.S. institutions of higher education has declined, and Simpson College is not immune to the trend.

“We have continually seen a decline in the number of international student population over the years,” said Walter Lain, associate dean of multicultural and international affairs.

The number of international students enrolled in U.S. universities has been on the rise since 1948. There was a 7 percent increase of international student enrollment from 2014, according to the Institute of International Education.

But since President Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, there’s been a decline: All three of Iowa’s public state universities faced a decrease in the number of international students, The Des Moines Register reported.

Simpson has taken many efforts to increase the number of international students. Simpson has exchange agreements with the University of Murcia in Spain, University of Adelaide Australia, University of French Polynesia in Tahiti and connections with the United Methodist Church and other affiliated institutions.

But these efforts may not be enough.

International students face many challenges when studying in the United States. They pay out-of-state tuition that is three times more than domestic students, along with visas, health insurance and other expenses.

“Visas cost and navigating Department of Homeland Security requirements have added to difficulties international students face,” Lain said.

According to the Des Moines Register, officials at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University speculate that immigration concerns have an effect on international student enrollment due to the Trump administration’s travel bans and other policies.

This may cause the numbers to decline even more. Over the past five years, Simpson has averaged between 16 and 20 international students and has seen good retention rates.

“Retention for our international population has been very good with all students enrolled at Simpson, stay until they complete their studies and graduate,” Lain said.

Last year 16 international students were enrolled with five graduates. Lain said this year 11 international students are enrolled along with three Fulbright language teaching assistants.