College Diversity Meets Political Adversity

Clare Hardiman   Since June 16, 2015, the day Donald Trump announced his candidacy, Americans— Latin students among them— impatiently anticipated the outcome of election day. From media backlash to the women’s march planned in response to Inauguration Day, Trump’s victory shocked Americans. Known as one of the most notorious and politically controversial presidential candidates, Donald Trump now faces a largely polarized America. Whether discussing foreign policy or immigration laws, Trump sparks aggressive debate. One of these controversial topics centers on whether Trump’s entrance to the White House could limit international students from attending college in the United States. International student acceptance into U.S. colleges has been a contentious topic because many people believe these foreign students are taking opportunities away from American students. Should the people of the United States focus on educating their younger generations or branch out to educating foreign students, potentially bringing new perspectives and ideas into schools? The environment at Latin gives students the opportunity to express their opinions, especially about the election. Students often discussed the advantages and disadvantages to having Trump or Hillary as our next president, as well as Trump’s many controversies that could sway the election. Because many Latin students are either beginning to think about college, applying to college, or have already been accepted into a college, Trump potentially decreasing the rate of international students coming to college in America could have an effect on Latin students’ acceptances. Additionally, if the rate of international student entrance to U.S. schools decreases, Latin students might not be exposed to the same ideas, perspectives, or diverse culture and backgrounds as they would otherwise. International students could change Latin students’ views on how they look at the people and the world around them because they have experienced a different life living outside America. However, Latin students going to college may not have this opportunity if there’s a risk of a decrease in foreign student entrance. Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, a writer for the Washington Post, questions whether Trump could affect the ability of international students to go to college in the U.S. Trump’s controversy and inability to verbalize how he plans to execute some of his ideas has only led to more Americans questioning what will happen when he comes into office. Thus, although Trump has not made an official statement about whether or not he supports the increasing rate of international students attending college in the U.S., his position is suggested by his “xenophobic rhetoric and nativist policies” and stances on similar issues, such as immigration. As a matter of fact, “Moody’s Investors Service anticipates the flow of international students into the United States will wane if Trump upholds a campaign promise to limit or end the H-1B visa program for high-skilled foreign workers.” As the future leading power of the country, not only could Trump limit the number of foreign students attending college in the U.S., but his discouragement of companies employing these workers “would likely reduce international student enrollment because it would make it harder for companies to hire foreigners, diminishing the post-study job prospects of international students in the US,” Moody analyst Pranav Sharma said. In addition, “because Trump has also pledged to impose a temporary ban on Muslim immigration coupled with the rash of hate crimes on college campuses in the wake of his election,” some foreign students would likely withdraw from applying to schools in the United States. Although Trump does have the ability to lower the number of foreign students studying abroad in the U.S., these students might back out of applying to colleges themselves if their lives are at risk. Despite backlash from some Americans about colleges accepting a wide range of international students, many universities and colleges have a history of embracing “international students for the cultural diversity, varied perspectives and revenue they bring.” According to U.S. News and World Report, some of these colleges and universities include Boston University (with an international student acceptance rate of about 20%), Columbia University (with an international student acceptance rate of about 14%), and Cal Berkeley (with an international student acceptance rate of about 14%). Considering many other U.S. colleges and universities have similar international student acceptance rates to Cal Berkeley, Boston, and Columbia, international student acceptance is— thus far— consistent. Additionally, it’s been proven that “foreign students typically receive little to no financial aid and pay higher tuition than American students.” Foreign students have even benefitted the United States’ economy, subsequently contributing more than $35 billion. So while Trump might plan to decrease the rate of international students attending college in the U.S., these students could actually benefit the country in the long run. However, there are still “numerous examples showing how enrollment from foreign countries can quickly shift based on changes to domestic and international government policies affecting scholarship programs, immigration, student visas and post-study work prospects.” As of right now, “Rebecca Grappo, president of RNG International, an education consulting firm that helps foreign students navigate college admissions,” says none of her students have dropped their applications to U.S. schools, even though they have fears of coming to the U.S. But “with most schools setting deadlines for January, it is too early to tell whether Trump’s election is affecting the volume of applications.” Because many international students are eager to come to college in the United States, it doesn’t seem like their rate of attendance to these colleges will start to taper quite yet. But everything is still up in the air until January 20. Maybe the colleges Latin students are accepted to will change if less foreign students apply or are accepted to colleges in the U.S or maybe they won’t. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what Trump has in store for America.]]>