AP NEWS

Despite immigration fears, record hikes for colleges

June 14, 2017

Several Bay State colleges and universities are reporting “record” increases in applications from international students despite widespread fears the Trump administration’s hard-line stance on immigration would deter foreign scholars from attending school in the United States.

“American universities are the best in the world,” said Preston Cooper of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. “It would take a lot more than what the Trump administration says to stop international students from coming. The best education you can get is in America.”

Although some schools haven’t yet released their final tally of international students accepting their offers to study in the U.S., many noted no impact on interest.

Boston University received 13,241 applications from international students, up 3 percent over last year. Smith College in Northampton, meanwhile, received 1,408 international applications, which represents a “new record” and a 5 percent increase over last year, college spokeswoman Stacey Schmeidel said.

Harvard University’s undergraduate program saw an 11.7 percent spike in applications from foreign freshmen, and MIT received 4,653 international applicants for admission. Of those, MIT admitted 133 international applicants and 119 others were accepted for enrollment as first-year students.

“We have not seen any decrease in enrollments this year,” said Matt McGann, MIT’s director of admissions.

At the College of the Holy Cross, officials reported receiving 508 international applications, representing an 18 percent spike over last year, and UMass Lowell received 508 applications from international students — up from 482 last year.

And at the university’s flagship campus in Amherst, 5,328 undergraduate applications from international students looking to enroll in the fall is up 292 over last year and UMass Dartmouth is reporting 365 applicants, an increase of 67 over the 298 it had last year.

The increase in foreign students comes as many university officials from coast to coast expressed concerns that international students would avoid the United States due to fears about restrictions of student visas and an increasingly hostile climate to immigrants.

Cooper admitted “it is hard to predict these things.”

“The election of Donald Trump was unconventional. It did create a lot of uncertainties, but the thing with uncertainties is you don’t know what will happen,” he said.

“I think the fears that international students might not come were justified, but it just didn’t pan out.”