China Daily

Trump unlikely to deter students heading to US

- By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxinyin­g@

While Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House is unlikely to affect Chinese wanting to study in the US, his administra­tion’s plan to tighten immigratio­n could mean more of them will need to return right after graduation, education consultant­s have said.

The United States has long been the No 1 destinatio­n for students from China, which in turn has been the US’ top source of foreign students for the past seven years, according to the Institute for Internatio­nal Education’s Open Doors Report 2016.

The report, released in November, said 328,547 Chinese were studying in the US Tian Wang, a consultant at Vision Overseas, part of New Oriental Education and Technology Group last year, up by 8 percent year-on-year, accounting for one-third of the country’s internatio­nal students.

Since the presidenti­al election, Trump and his advisers have signaled moves to tighten employment and visa policies relating to foreign students, triggering concern among some parents. Yet education industry insiders have said any rule changes would have a minimal effect in the shortterm.

Zhang Weiyong, a chief consultant at Golden Orient, a overseas-education agency in Beijing, said demand among Chinese students for high-quality educationa­l resources in the US will not change unless the resources do.

“I believe there will still be large numbers of Chinese heading to the US to study after Trump takes office,” he said. “Even if the president and his team follow through on the comments they have made about internatio­nal students, the trend will continue for a year or two, as parents and students are not sensitive to policies.”

Tian Wang, a consultant at Vision Overseas, part of New Oriental Education and Technology Group, added that he feels the new administra­tion will factor in the vast contributi­on overseas students make to the US economy.

“At some universiti­es, particular­ly those in California, the Chinese take up an even larger proportion (than onethird) and are a major source of revenue,” he said.

“Nobody would reject money, not to mention that Trump is a businessma­n. In that sense, I think the possibilit­y of the Trump administra­tion carrying out unfavorabl­e policies toward internatio­nal students is small.”

He warned, however, that students who plan to work or gain residency in the US after graduation should be fully prepared for any possible changes to immigratio­n policies.

Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated as head of the Justice Department, for example, has objected to both legal and illegal immigratio­n, and has mentioned abolishing Optional Practical Training, a program that allows internatio­nal students to stay in the US for several months after graduation to look for work.

“If that is abolished, it will make the already difficult tasks of landing a job and obtaining residency even harder for internatio­nal students,” Tian said.

Nobody would reject money, not to mention that Trump is a businessma­n.”

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