MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Madison is receiving more applications from international students as nearly 40 percent of colleges across the country report receiving fewer such applications.
Campus officials told the Wisconsin State Journal the university received about 900 more applications to join its fall 2017 freshman class from overseas, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year. Enrollment deposits are also up by 5 percent.
Many college admissions officers have feared a “Trump effect” of a growing sense of hostility toward outsiders and tighter restrictions on a popular visa program for foreign workers would make the U.S. less appealing to international students.
“Things have changed a bit,” said Akshat Raika, an incoming freshman from central India.
Raika said he has heard from friends who are being treated differently in the U.S. since Donald Trump became president.
“After visiting UW and talking to people in Madison, my worries are very less,” Raika said. “People were very friendly and helpful.”
UW-Madison officials attribute the admissions increases to joining the Common Application, an application process they say makes it easier for students to discover and apply to the university.
The higher international application figures at the university — nearly 7,200 for this year’s freshman class, from 6,300 the year before university — were driven by growing interest from India and China, two countries that already make up a large share of the international students on campus. Applications from Chinese students for 2017 freshman class were up by 460, and by 194 from Indian students.
Kris Olds, a geography professor at the university who studies global higher education, says that even though international students might be concerned about the U.S. political climate, the quality of American universities and their prices have meant that the nation is still a popular place to study.