MINNEAPOLIS — Some universities in Minnesota have seen a slight increase in international students despite a national decline in foreign college students enrolling in U.S. schools.
The University of Minnesota saw a 1 percent increase in new international freshman, while the number of foreign college students dropped 7 percent nationally this fall, the Star Tribune reported . The university has more than 6,000 foreign students from more than 100 countries.
The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul reported a five-year high in international student enrollment, with more than 570 students coming from other countries this fall. About 6 percent of the student body is from abroad.
Ali Baydoun, a 19-year-old from Dubai studying at the University of Minnesota, said the numbers may be improving because Minnesota is a liberal state.
“I feel like there is more fear than last year, but there’s also a sense of . at least we’re not in Tennessee or Georgia,” he said.
U.S. college recruiters have seen a growing wariness abroad since the 2016 election. Parents and potential students are asking many questions about religious tolerance, particularly toward Muslim students, said Barbara Kappler, assistant dean of international student and scholar services at the University of Minnesota.
“They’re asking many questions about safety,” she said.
Officials from both schools said they’ve increased recruitment efforts and are working to make foreign students feel welcome on campus. International students are a financial asset and can also expose all students to a richer educational experience, officials said.
“The revenue is part of it, but it’s definitely not the whole thing,” said Ethan Olson, assistant director of international admissions at St. Thomas. “(Having a more globalized campus) gives the students more of a worldly perspective, and it helps prepare students for working in a worldly setting.”
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com