US: F-1 Student Visas for Chinese Nationals Drop By 99%

The number of F-1 student visas issued to Chinese nationals has marked a 99 per cent decrease between April and September, a higher figure compared to the decrease among international students outside China, Nikkei Asia reported.

This year, amid the Corona pandemic and the increased political tensions between the US and China, the number of visas issued for Chinese students was 808 during the period between April and September. Differently, in the same period in 2019, US student visas were issued to 90,410 Chinese students, Erudera College News reports.

In addition to the Coronavirus pandemic and political tensions between countries, the immigration rules imposed by the Trump administration for Chinese students, have weakened the number of Chinese students in the US.

In September, the US revoked the visas of more than 1,000 Chinese students and researchers, claiming that they pose a risk to national security.

Another discouraging factor for studying in the US for Chinese students is also the way the US is coping with the Coronavirus pandemic. Many international students who pursue studies at US colleges have chosen to continue classes remotely, mainly because of the travel restrictions which prevented their travel to the US or because they were not able to receive visas on time.

At Pennsylvania State University, most international students are following courses online this semester. 5,080 of the 11,000 students are Chinese nationals.

“Since we knew that some new students wouldn’t be able to make it to the US because of visa restrictions, we started thinking, ‘What would it look like to offer students a residential experience in their own country?'” a Pennsylvania State representative said in a university press release.

The university offered the chance to few of its students in China to continue in-person studies in Shanghai at one of its study abroad centres.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, the number of Chinese students enrolled in US higher education had increased by 8.1 per cent, while in the 2018-2019 academic year, there was an increase of 1.7 per cent.

According to the Institute of International Education, 370,000 Chinese nationals in total pursued studies in the United States during the 2018-2019 academic year, which means they represented more than a third of the whole international student population in the United States.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, Chinese students paid an amount of $15 billion to US colleges as tuition payments.

The lack of Chinese students pursuing studies in the US could harm the US economy as well. According to the NAFSA Association of International Educators, in 2019, international students contributed $41 billion to the US economy.

In general, new international student enrollments at universities in the United States have dropped during the last three years.

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