U.S. Higher Education Community Calls for a Return to Pre-COVID 19 Int’l Student Enrollment Numbers & a National Strategy of Federal Actions and Policies

Washington, DC – The American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Institute of International Education, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities today issued the following statement urging the U.S. government to partner with the higher education community to develop and implement a national strategy to return international student enrollment and exchanges to pre-COVID 19 numbers.

“The higher education community is deeply committed to, and places a high priority on, increasing the overall access, diversity, and success of the students it serves. International students play an important role in these efforts by enriching the learning environment for all students and bringing a global perspective that adds to the diversity of the campus and community.

“International Education Week celebrates the extraordinary contributions international students and scholars make to college and university campuses across the country. It is essential that the federal government support higher education’s efforts to develop a national strategy to increase the number of international students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities, ensuring that the nation returns to its pre-pandemic, high water mark level set in 2015 of more than 1 million international students.

“We are encouraged by the recent Joint Statement by the Departments of State and Education expressing ‘A Renewed U.S. Commitment to International Education.’  The higher education community looks forward to engaging closely with the federal government to enact policies and take coordinated action to support greater international student enrollment.

“International students not only add to the diversity of our institutions, but they also contribute to the American economy by supporting jobs and businesses and by fueling innovation. As the U.S. recovers from the pandemic-induced economic downturn, international students can help support a lasting recovery. International students continue to bolster the U.S. economy even after they complete their studies; many go on to help American companies stay on the leading edge or even start their own businesses and create jobs.

“International Education Week provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions international students and scholars make to our institutions of higher education. We appreciate the Biden administration’s efforts to date that support international students and offer flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. The higher education community and country at large must continue to make clear that international students are an essential part of our communities and continue to be welcomed to the United States.”


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