Oct. 30, 2017

Fewer international students enroll in graduate programs

International student enrollment in Cleveland State University’s graduate programs has decreased by 150 students in the latest semester.

The graduate school typically consists of about 4,500 students. International students usually make up 10 to 12 percent of that total, or anywhere from 450 to 540 students, according to Nigamanth Sridhar, dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

The engineering graduate programs took the largest hits from this enrollment loss.

A decline this large prompted a discussion of it at the most recent faculty senate and board of trustees meetings. The discussions included finding a reason for this decline.

Both meetings conveyed the message that this decline in international students enrollment is happening across the country.

Both the faculty senate and board of trustees stressed that the shortage comes from decisions by the students more than anything else.

Cleveland State University President Ronald Berkman said, “It has almost nothing to do directly with the so-called travel ban. What it more has to do with is the intended or unintended consequences.”

The effects of the travel ban have not yet taken place, and enrollment from countries not included in the travel ban, like India, has dropped significantly.

It is largely the impressions received from the travel ban driving enrollment down.

The faculty senate and Sridhar agreed with this logic.

Sridhar cited numerous students he spoke with who were nervous about the repercussions of the travel ban, whether the effects will hurt them or not.

Sridhar said that students have assumed that it will be more difficult to get H1V visas, often called work visas, and remain in the country to work even upon finding a job after graduation.

Students losing confidence in being able to get into the country, and finding and holding a job are less likely to put the effort into graduate school in the United States, but there are other factors.

In Saudi Arabia, a government program that helps students find schools to attend internationally is disbanding.

Although this program typically deals with undergraduate students, Sridhar said he believes it still plays a role in the lack of enrollment.

To combat this way of thinking and hopefully bring back some of the students, the College of Graduate Programs will be running webinars to help describe the visa process, application process and determining if students will actually be affected by the travel ban.


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