2017 was an important year with reference to the relationship between international students and American colleges. Till this time, the number of international students being admitted into various American colleges was increasing every year. The drop in Chinese student visa in USA is remarkable amongst the international students.
For the academic year 2016-2017, this number fell for the first time in a decade. The 2 countries that influenced this change the most were China and India. This is because China and India send the maximum number of students each year to America.
In 2016, 350,755 Chinese students were admitted to American colleges. This accounted for approximately 1/3rd of all the international students in the USA for the year. In 2017, the number of Chinese students who were granted F1 visas dropped by 24%.
There are many reasons for the decline of Chinese student visa in USA. According to a survey, affordability was a concern for 20% of the Chinese students interviewed. 27% were worried about employment opportunities, 13% felt unwelcome in the USA, 23% were worried about maintaining their visa status and 11% were worried about their physical safety.
Causes of Concern for Chinese Students
|Employment Opportunities||Affordability||Visa Status||Feeling Unwelcome||Safety|
The Decline of Chinese Student Visa in USA and the Rising Cost of American Education
Even with financial aid, an American education is not cheap. Students must pay for their visas, tuition, housing and living expenses. Tuition fees per year can vary from $5,000 to $50,000 while room and board expenses can range from $8,000 to $12,000.
In 2013, the average college student graduated with an individual debt of 30,000$. Through the past ten years, the cost of tuition in America has increased by 40%. International students have the added disadvantage of not being able to take on off-campus jobs while on the F1 visa. This limits their ability to bridge the gap between income and expenses.
The Average Cost of Education in the USA
|Item||Cost in Dollars Per Year|
|Room and Boarding||8,000-12,000|
The Decline of Chinese Student Visa in USA – Restrictions on OPT for STEM Students
As part of his ‘Putting America First’ plan, US President Donald Trump has changed the OPT policy for international Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students. International students can now no longer work on employer client sites but must work on the employers work site and be directly overseen by employees of contractors of the employer.
Till 2017, an OPT period was valid for 1 year and could be extended for another 12 months. This extension too has now been limited. As a result, many US companies are finding it difficult to recruit international students. For the students, this means that their scope of working in the US after graduation is limited. For this reason, the idea of studying in America may not seem as enticing as it once was for Chinese students.
The Drop of Chinese Student Visa in USA – F1 Visa Extension given in 2014
The F1 visa is typically awarded for the duration of the course the student is applying to attend. At the end of 2014, USA and China mutually agreed to increase visa validations for tourist, business, and student visas. The validity of the F1 visa was increased from 1 year to 5 years.
This means that Chinese students in America do not need to apply for visa extensions for 5 years after getting their F1 visa. This could be one of the reasons why statistics are showing a drop in the number of Chinese students applying for F1 visas and visa extensions.
The Drop of Chinese Student Visa in USA – Better Options Available in Other Countries
The USA is not the only contender for quality higher education. Other countries like Canada, UK, Australia, Netherlands, and France have opened their doors to international students by increasing the number of courses available in English and easing visa restrictions.
This has given Chinese students more to choose from. Education and living in these countries are also often cheaper as compared to America. Thus, many Chinese students are opting to study abroad in these countries rather than in America.
How Does Having Fewer Chinese Students Affect the USA?
International students are a great source of revenue for America. In 2016-17 international students contributed $36.9 billion to the US economy. Of this, expenses by Chinese students account for $12 billion.
International students also give American students a window to the world outside their country. Since very few Americans actually study abroad, international students help provide diversity in the classroom and give Americans a chance to see what the rest of the world is like.
A reducing number of international students will narrow this window and keep American students from getting a worldview. Chinese and other international students also bring a lot of talent with them. When they choose to study in other countries, they take this talent pool with them and thus America stands at the losing end.
International students in America typically pay 2 to 3 times the tuition fee paid by American students. If the number of international students decreases further, colleges may have to think about increasing the tuition fee for American students to make up the difference.
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