Decline in Chinese students could hurt U.S. economy and political power

  • In recent years, Chinese students’ interest in studying in the United States has declined sharply.
  • That’s because of political tensions between the US and China, Covid-related deaths in the US, and anti-Asian racism.
  • Economists say the decline in students from China could pose problems for the US economy.

America’s popularity among Chinese students has been steadily declining over the last few years. It could burn through the financial, cultural and diplomatic bridges of the United States.

That’s according to a recent survey of 8,610 respondents about Chinese students studying abroad conducted by New Oriental Education Technology Group, a Beijing-based private education service provider. The researchers found that since 2015, interest in studying in the United States has steadily declined in the Middle Kingdom, while it has increased in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore over the same period.

This comes after more than a decade when China was the largest source of international students in the United States, and that number increased over the years. It pays up to three times as much as in-state students in college, effectively subsidizing the costs of higher education institutions. Economists told Insider that the number of Chinese students enrolled in graduate programs is also helping the university cover other costs.

Nikolai Rusanov, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told an insider, “There are a lot of people who depend on China for their income at the master’s level.

Chinese students accounted for 35% of all international students studying in the United States in the 2019-2020 academic year, bringing in an economic value of $15.9 billion, according to a report by the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors.

However, a combination of circumstances has led Chinese citizens to migrate to other countries for education. One reason is the anti-Chinese immigration policy enacted under former President Donald Trump and his strict COVID lockdown policy in China. Additionally, Shah Hua, Karen Hao, and Melissa Cohn of The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Chinese students were more likely to report higher levels of gun violence in the United States and higher mortality rates from COVID-19. Height, reports feeling held back by the surge in racism against Asians in America.

In addition to threatening an important source of income for American private and public universities, the declining interest in American education among Chinese students is jeopardizing other aspects of the American economy. economist told Insider. This includes achievements in multiple industries, including technology and finance, as well as the cultural and political significance of international students that remains after graduation.

Oleg Itsuhoki, an economics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “The news about declining international demand for U.S. education is very sensitive and takes it more seriously than the loss of U.S. comparative advantage in other areas. We should accept it,” he said. he told an insider.

“If the trend continues like this, it will be no good.”

According to a translation of the survey by The Wall Street Journal, 51% of the Chinese students surveyed wanted to study in the United States in 2015, but that number has dwindled to 30% this year. The number of students wishing to study in the UK increased by 9% over the same period, while in Hong Kong and Singapore he more than doubled.

Itsuhoki said the US should worry if it is not the best educational destination in the world.

“One might argue that U.S. leadership in the world is best reflected in the two export services of finance and education. The United States will continue to be the leader in the economy, and this could continue long after the United States loses its leadership in terms of total GDP, manufacturing output and international trade in goods.”

Rusanov said the economy “won’t necessarily have a big negative impact” based on current enrollment numbers, but said the trend in survey numbers is cause for concern.

“If this trend continues, it will not be a good thing,” he said.

Rusanov pointed out many industries where Chinese expatriates enter after graduation and make lucrative contributions.

“Everything related to technology, finance, the more quantitative aspects of finance, everything related to artificial intelligence. These are big drivers of innovation at the moment,” he said.

There is also a direct link between the fading appeal of American education as a “good thing” for Chinese expats and America’s political and economic health, Itsuhoki said. Stated.

“The export of higher education services, the purchase of these services by foreigners, is not only important as an export commodity, but also important in terms of cultural, economic and political spillovers,” Itsuhoki said. “China’s reduced demand for U.S. education services could widen political and economic rifts over time.”

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