Did the presidential election affect international student yield rates?

Many experts were curious about how the results of the presidential election would affect international student enrollment—and a new survey begins to answer the question, Elizabeth Redden writes for Inside Higher Ed.

The survey, by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and five other higher education associations, set out to measure yield rates for international students at American colleges and universities between fall 2016 and fall 2017. The partnering higher education associations distributed a survey to their member institutions to find out each of their yields rates, and the IIE analyzed 112 responses to produce its final report.

Researchers found there were only small declines in international student yield rates, from 26% to 24%, writes Redden. She reports that changes to yield rates at the graduate level were also relatively small, citing a separate survey by the Council of Graduate Schools. In response to that survey, about 46% of master's program deans reported their yield rates declined by only two percentage points, and the same was true for 31% of doctoral program deans.

However, due to small response rates, the IIE did not provide an analysis of yield rates for Middle Eastern students, who some predicted would avoid American universities as a result of feeling threatened by comments from President Trump on the campaign trail. Muslim students were among those who protested in the wake of Trump being elected president.

In general, the small decline for international student yields is a sign that the overall effect may not be "as dire as everybody had predicted," says Rajika Bhandari, the head of research, policy and practice at IIE. "It's too small of a difference to predict a definitive trend this fall," he added (Redden, Inside Higher Ed, 7/7; Institute of International Education report, accessed 7/7).

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