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International Student Enrollment Is Flat. That's A Big Financial Problem For Colleges

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California's universities have attracted tens of thousands of international students every year -- but enrollment has been slowing and it's even shrunk at some campuses. And now COVID-19 is making matters worse.

Enrollment had surged for a decade -- and because international students usually pay the full costs of tuition, fees, and room and board, it was a godsend to colleges and universities struggling financially after the 2008 recession.

Now, a new report by the government-funded research organization OpenDoors shows a nearly 2% drop in international student enrollment in United States higher education last year. Some Southern California colleges and universities are seeing this and much higher decreases.

The coronavirus pandemic is certainly one of the culprits. But international student enrollment had already been declining before the pandemic. Some blame the Trump Administration's xenophobic rhetoric and tightening of visa policies for figuratively yanking the welcome mat out from under these students.

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