Access to student visas is becoming increasingly difficult for students from abroad. Many international students who’ve been admitted to US colleges and universities are finding themselves unable to attend due to their inability to obtain visas in a timely manner. These students are a welcome addition to universities and to the economy bringing $42.4 billion to the U.S. through tuition, room and board, and other expenses, according to the US Department of Commerce.
A recent incident involved a Palestinian student who was scheduled to begin his freshman year at Harvard. According to a report from The New York Times, the student, whose home residence is Lebanon, was denied entry into Boston when a Customs and Border Protection agent demanded to see his phone and objected to the social media activity of his friends. University officials from around the country say this is not an isolated incident.
While there are over a million international students currently studying in the US, that number is steadily declining. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), international enrollment decreased by 3% in 2016 and an additional 7% in 2017. “This is the first time that these numbers have declined in the 12 years since Open Doors has reported new enrollments,” according to IIE.
The State Department, which told The New York Times, “the majority of international students received a visa upon application: 74% of student visa applications and 92.5% of exchange visitor visa applications were approved in the fiscal year 2018,” denies there’s an issue