Welcome U? Higher Ed Marketers Sweat International Enrollments

Higher ed marketers responsible for recruiting prospects overseas can’t wait for fall.

That’s when newly enrolled foreign students will arrive on campus, revealing just how much of an impact travel ban and America First talk is is having on the desire to study here.

A flurry of recent studies clouds the picture.

One, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Karin Fischer, says that American colleges will be hit hard by declining interest from students in the Middle East, while another expresses “cautious optimism” that U.S. institutions will see an increase in foreign students enrolling. A third cites graduate-school deans’ concerns about “substantial” falloffs in foreign enrollments.

Fischer breaks down the contradictions.

Master’s programs may take a hit, but that shouldn’t be surprising, she writes. Many international students who pursue a master’s degree here often are pausing careers abroad to do so. They may simply wait a year and see how U.S. policies shakeout.

Colleges may see a decline in new Indian students, too. Though India is not affected by the travel ban, reports show a significant drop off in searches for American colleges from that country.

Still, Fischer notes that since the travel ban was announced five months ago, many institutions have adjusted their marketing and communications. They’re aggressively following up with accepted students and tapping alumni and current students to connect with interested prospects.

That’s the right tactical response.

But if international enrollments drop significantly, U.S. colleges may want to pool their resources for a strategic campaign overseas; one that attacks perceived walls with welcoming and inspirational opportunities.

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