Yale is one of the approximately 60 percent of American universities that have not seen a decrease in international student applications due to President Donald Trump’s recent efforts to change national immigration policy, according to University administrators.
A recent study by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers found that nearly 40 percent of U.S. colleges and universities are reporting overall declines in applications from international students. The March 13 report, which surveyed 252 schools, found the greatest decrease in both undergraduate and graduate applications came from the Middle East. But Yale administrators, including those in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Yale School of Management, said they had not observed a dip in international applications and were not worried about the yield rate of international students, though they also stressed their commitment to helping international students navigate their Yale studies during the Trump era.
“All we can say right now is what we’ve known since our application deadline passed — international applications for freshman admission were up as much as our domestic applications, about 5 percent,” Director of Outreach and Communications Mark Dunn ’07 said. “The domestic and international applicant pools have tended to grow in tandem, and this year was no exception.”
And though international admissions remain strong, the Admissions Office is making an extra effort to ensure that students from outside the U.S. feel comfortable coming to Yale.
Director of Recruitment Hannah Mendlowitz ’12 said the office plans to connect with admitted international students this April.
“In light of new immigration policies under the Trump administration, we know it’s now more important than ever to provide support and guidance for our admitted students from outside of the United States,” she said.
For this reason, Mendlowitz said the Admissions Office, in conjunction with the Office of International Students and Scholars, will host online seminars in April for admitted international students to provide a forum in which prospective students can learn about Yale’s international student support systems.
“We want all of our admitted students to be fully aware of the resources available to them at Yale as they decide where to spend their next four years,” Mendlowitz added.
On the graduate and professional student side of admissions, there seemed to be a similar lack of a so-called “Trump effect” in admissions.
Laurel Grodman ’02 SOM ’06, director of admissions, analytics and evaluation at the Yale School of Management, said that while specific SOM admissions statistics would not be available until after the current admissions cycle, the general sense of the data as it now stands suggests that Trump’s policies will not affect international admissions figures.
Grodman said that the full-time MBA program at the SOM has been fortunate to see “double-digit” growth in applications this year. And while domestic application growth has outpaced international growth, Grodman said both applicant populations are up significantly year after year, and there have been no unusual changes in application numbers by country or region thus far.
She added there were no major signals that international students will opt out of studying at the SOM.
“There are many factors at play that drive yield, but we will certainly keep a close eye on international numbers as the year progresses and as we plan for the future,” Grodman said. “While it is reassuring that international application volume has grown, the decision process for applying to business school can begin months or even years before an application deadline — well before the recent policy changes. It will be important to track enrollment for this group, and understand the reasons behind the choice to decline enrollment.”
Grodman also said that the SOM’s highly global student body is “one of [their core strengths]” and cited that 46 percent of students in the most recent incoming SOM class hold an international passport, adding that this group contains citizens of 46 different countries. The SOM values global experience and global perspective, “regardless of passport,” and will continue to do so as they go forward, she added.
But in an interview with the News last month, SOM Senior Associate Dean David Bach ’99 said the bigger problem faced by international students may be the application process for visas, which international scholars need in order to work legally in the U.S.
“Almost half of our students are not U.S. citizens and many of them come with the hope of spending at least some time working in the U.S. after graduation,” Bach said, adding that Trump’s policies could “fundamentally change the value propositions of top U.S. business schools to non-U.S. applicants.”
The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers will release its final report on March 30.
Ryan Gittler contributed reporting.