MASON CITY, Iowa - Coronavirus travel restrictions are affecting international student enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities.
The American Council on Education estimates enrollment to drop about 25% this Fall, with travel and quarantine restrictions, as well as U.S. embassy and consulate offices just begnning to reopen are the big factors behind the decline. While international students make up only 6% of enrollments in the U.S., they do make a substantial financial contribution, as they contributed $41 billion to the economy during the 2018-19 school year according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
According to NIACC President Dr. Steve Schulz, the college is not immunte to this drop.
"We've had about a dozen students that have delayed their start hopefully until January. But we were able to enroll 34 this fall, from anywhere in the world, and they bring so much value to the campus. We're glad they can manage through the challenges and obstacles like the rest of us to get here."
Other area community colleges across the state have had the same experience, according to Dr. Schulz.
"Most of the students who were here last year were able to get back no problem because they had their visas in hand. The first year students seem to have more problems last year."
For those students who arrived from out of country, Dr. Schulz says they were put into quarantine for 14 days in the dorms. To date, they have not had a single case of COVID-19 in the international student population.