Sharing the Pain – Decline in Saudi students hits almost every state and every level of study across the United States. What next for Iran?

Most of us in international education eagerly anticipate the publication of Open Doors or IPEDS data. For those who can’t wait, dive into our analysis of live international student mobility data from the March 2017 SEVIS data release. We have analyzed differences in volumes of SEVIS registered students all over the United States. This blog and visualization focuses on students from across the Middle East and North Africa.
As most international student recruiters already know, diversity is the key to a successful, long-term international recruitment plan. Smart, forward-thinking universities are doing all they can to ensure they are capable of recruiting a diverse international population – but attracting students from across the globe is challenging for a variety of factors and the competition for international students will only intensify in the coming years.

Saudi Arabia

Our analysis indicates the decline in enrollments from Saudi Arabia has hit almost every state in the nation – with SEVIS reporting a 33% decline in Saudi students registered in California in March 2017 compared to March 2016. These declines are evenly spread across most states in the United States. Although it is particularly noticeable in the State of Idaho which has seen a 39% drop in Saudi students registered in March 2017 compared to March 2106.

The year on year decline in Saudi students is felt across all sectors with a 52% decline in Saudi students enrolled in Language programs compared to March 2016. The drops are more modest, but still evident at Bachelors and Masters Level. At the other end of the spectrum, there has been an increase in the number of Saudi Arabian students registered on Doctoral programs.

Table One: Saudi Arabian Students in the United States – March 2017, SEVIS

Iran

Iran, the second most populous country, and a major target in President Trump’s Executive orders shows where the US will be vulnerable. With almost 13,000 students registered in March 2017, this showed a healthy increase on the previous year. Iranian students are much less likely to be enrolled in language programs – with the largest cohort registered as doctoral or masters level students. Moreover the recent growth indicates Iranian students evenly distributed across the nation. Whether we will experience a decline in those numbers in the next release of data.
The recent growth in students from Iran and the concomitant decline in students from Saudi Arabia

Table Two: Iranian Students in the United States – March 2017, SEVIS

Explore the data for yourself – Our interactive graphic allows you to explore these data in more depth by state or by source country in the region. We have also collated these data for every world region and for each university. So please do contact us, if you would like to explore what this means for your school or home state.

Every year, INTO University Partnerships helps almost 14,000 students from 120 countries and territories around the world achieve their dream of studying overseas.

We work with individual students, universities and governments through a sophisticated, multi-channeled marketing operation, providing the highest quality student experience – the heart of our mission.

Our results speak for themselves. We have helped universities grow and then sustain their international student population at levels beyond their peers, often at multiples of national averages.

We have comprehensive data for every college and university in the US. Contact Frank Merendino frank.merendino@intoglobal.com to set up a meeting to discuss ways INTO Insights & Analytics can help you meet your campus internationalization goals.

Tim O'Brien

Author: Tim O'Brien

Tim is Vice President, Global Partner Development, INTO University Partnerships

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