How did international students' interest in the USA change between 2020 & 2021?

The USA's response to COVID-19 contributed to a significant decline in interest from international students in 2020. We explore those regions & markets where interest has continued to grow between 2020 & 2021. 

Many commentators and analysts agree that COVID-19 had a particularly adverse effect on the United States as an international study destination in 2020. Most recently, the Institute of International Education published a report that showed a 43% decline in international student enrolments to the United States in 2020.

These fears were only exacerbated for students planning to study in the USA by the policies of Donald Trump’s government, and the resulting visa restrictions put in place by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

So what does this mean for higher education institutions in the USA as they look towards 2021? How have the events of 2020 impacted the destination preferences of those students applying to university in 2021?

Our latest infographic gives US international admissions teams a strategic overview of: 

  • To what extent interest in the USA has changed year on year for the 2021 graduating cohort of BridgeU students, based on their region, country and city of origin.
  • Which recruitment markets are seeing an increase in interest in the USA as a study destination.

We find that, for the most part, interest in the USA decreased across all regions in 2020, excluding the Middle East, which experienced a 1% increase in shortlists from international students.

But there are still 48 countries from which BridgeU students originate that defied this narrative in 2020! 

If you work in US international admissions and want full access to our latest analysis, download your free report below. 

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