A Trump victory in the upcoming U.S. Presidency elections could be extremely detrimental to international student recruitment at U.S. universities, a recent survey found.

Results of the survey, released for the 68th annual NAFSA conference held in Denver, Colorado, uncovered that a Trump Presidency could overturn record-breaking gains in international student numbers seen at higher education institutions throughout the U.S. over the past 10-years.

While the Obama administration made international education a priority, establishing things like 100,000 strong in Americas to increase international exchanges in the Western hemisphere and bolster international relations through greater student mobility, and also opening up opportunities for academic partnership in Cuba, Trump’s far-right stance towards immigration reform and controversial attitude towards Islam – among other religious and ethnic minorities – has caused overseas students all over the world question the integrity of U.S. higher education.

Overall, 40,000 prospective international students from 118 countries responded to the survey; of these 40,000 respondents, 60 percent claimed they would be much less likely to enrol at a U.S. institution if Trump, the Republican candidate, ever became President, while just four percent said the same for Hilary Clinton, and five percent for Bernie Sanders – Trump’s democratic contenders.

The findings were published by Intead, a global higher education marketing firm, alongside FFPEDUMedia, a respected organisation that runs global student-recruitment fairs.

Conference representatives continue to advocate the value of international education, vowing to let educational exchange, international partnerships and collaborative research take strategic priority in future education reforms, largely due to ‘overlaps’ with the goals of national security and prosperity.

NAFSA conference members also discussed plans to diversify and expand the number of domestic U.S. students who spend at least part of their college experience at a foreign university.

According to figures from the Institute of International Education (IIE), only 10 percent of the total U.S. student population study for all or part of their degree overseas.

In-line with their promise to boost international education among U.S. domestic students, the IIE has launched a campaign – Generation Study Abroad – that seeks to motivate colleges and universities in the region to raise awareness of the benefits tied to studying abroad for all university students.

“NAFSA on Tuesday released findings suggesting that seed money in the form of competitive grants to institutions may be the most effective way to achieve that,” notes Mary Beth Marklein for University World News.

“Its pilot study, involving federal initiatives to increase exchanges in China, France and Latin America, found that institutions receiving grants ranging fromUS$20,000 to US$60,000 not only increased the number of U.S. students going abroad as part of their education, but also kept the momentum going long after the funding ended,” Marklein writes.

Additional reporting by University World News.

Image via AP Images.

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