Impact of temporary ban on seven Muslim countries on international students

The overall impact of the recent ban on seven Muslim countries could be severe for enrollments at many higher education institutions. It will sharply drop the number of international students not only from these countries but other Muslim majority countries too like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia were among top-15 places of origin sending international students in 2015/16, according to IIE.

Saudi Arabia, a key market for the US was already witnessing the drop in enrollment due to a cut in the Saudi government's scholarship program. The domino effect of this ban will further result in a precipitous decline of students from Saudi. Intensive English Programs and undergraduate programs are likely to suffer from enrollment decline in students from Saudi and Kuwait.

The ban will especially hurt graduate schools as a majority of the students from the seven banned countries and other Muslim countries like Turkey which were primarily enrolled in graduate level programs. According to SEVP data, in 2016, 70% of Iranian students were enrolled in doctoral-level programs (8,603/12,427).

enrollment and recruitment of international students from banned countries

2015/16 Undergrad Graduate Non-degree OPT Total
Saudi Arabia
33,952
13,210
12,630
1,495
61,287
Kuwait
6,810
803
2,000
159
9,772
Oman
2,172
191
465
28
2,856
Qatar
1,222
73
133
15
1,443
Turkey
   3,393
     5,125
       794
       1,379
        10,691


Dr. Rahul Choudaha