World Education Services’ New Research Highlights Challenging Political Environment for International Student Recruitment

NEW YORK, June 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — New research by World Education Services (WES) finds that the U.S. political environment is the biggest challenge to recruiting international students to college and university campuses. In response, most institutions have changed or are planning to change their international recruitment strategies.

A 2018 survey of 139 higher education professionals is the basis of a new WES research report, Navigating a New Paradigm for International Student Recruitment. The survey examined how the current U.S. political environment is affecting institutions, and how staff are responding. Key findings are that:

  • A majority of institutions saw a decrease in the number of international students applying for the 2017-2018 academic year.
  • Intensive English language and graduate programs experienced the biggest declines in international student enrollment, at 70 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
  • Applications from China, India, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) declined the most.
  • The political environment in the U.S., increased visa delays or denials, and prospective students’ concerns about securing work visas were cited as the most challenging factors for recruiters.

“Higher education institutions cited a number of challenges in meeting international recruitment goals,” said Paul Schulmann, WES research manager and one of the report’s authors. “The perception that work visas are hard to obtain has been a particular issue.”

Researchers also reported some surprising findings. For instance, more than half of those surveyed said they believed international enrollments would rebound.

“Most respondents remain optimistic and plan to adjust recruitment strategies,” said Schulmann. “We believe that practical tactics can help.”

The authors provide seven recommendations to help institutions weather the current enrollment downturn.

Visit to read the full report.

About WES
World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1974. WES evaluates and advocates for the recognition of international education qualifications in the U.S. and Canada, and has provided evaluations to almost two million individuals worldwide. WES credential evaluations are recognized by 2,500 academic, business, and governmental institutions around the globe.

About WES Research
WES Research provides strategic reports and articles that offer research-based insights and recommendations on how higher education institutions can:

  • Evaluate and improve their international enrollment management
  • Elevate return on recruitment investments
  • Enhance international student experiences