Rebound of the Non-Resident Alien Student Population

Dr. Aviva Legatt recently wrote an article for Forbes that highlighted, “Five College Admissions Trends For 2021.” A couple of them were no-brainer observations but two of them I find particularly interesting… The first is that colleges will praise even more highly authenticity and resilience shown by their applicants. The second of the trends on her list answers a question that many families have been asking since summer of 2020. Does test optional really mean test optional? Dr. Legatt believes as I do, that standardized tests are “optional but preferred”. To make her point, she compared that number of early applicants being accepted into the University of Pennsylvania from the 2020 graduating class to the class of 2021 where 75% of students admitted in the early round submitted standardized test scores, whereas only 25 percent did not.

Two of the other predicted trends were that students will continue to apply early to elite institutions and that more students will consider taking a gap year before going off to college. Neither of these predictions will have much of an effect on the typical high school graduate but this last one could significantly impact both applicants and universities. It is that “With the advent of the Biden administration, I predict we will see more international students back on campuses.” The previous administration supported legislation that limited international student visas to four years. This move was in direct opposition to existing policy that had allowed students to stay in the US as long as they are in school and progressing in their studies. This change in policy resulted in a drastic decrease in the number of international student visas issued to non-resident alien students and the numbers fell from more than 600,000 in 2015 to 364,204 in 2019.

In a poll involving foreign students that was conducted by the Graduate Management Association Council, international candidates indicated that they would be more likely to consider attending college in the U.S. if Joe Biden became president. Under the new administration, federal agencies will likely work hard to provide an easier path to international students seeking admissions to US institutions of higher education. More high-performing foreign students mean more money for colleges and more competition for US high school graduates. Get ready for the heat to rise again in the competition to get admitted.

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