ECU not following the trend of fewer foreign students

EASTERN CAROLINA, NC (WITN) A new study from the Institute of International Education says that the number of foreign students coming to study in the United States has plummeted over the last 2 years. The number has dropped 7% and 3%, respectively.

ECU, however, is not seeing the same thing.

Some blame the changing immigration policies and the tough process of getting a visa.

The State Department, which funded the study, said the cost of American universities is the driving factor. Many students have said they would not be able to study in the U.S. without financial help from scholarships.

"When you compare the cost of higher education in the US compared to the UK or Canada or Australia or some of the other kind of competitors that we have, it is a little bit higher," said the Assistant Vice Chancellor of ECU Global Affairs, Jon Rezek.

ECU has not followed this trend. Their international population continues to grow. This past year, they actually welcomed the largest class of foreign students.

The international population at ECU is still small though at just 1% of the student body. But officials say efforts to welcome those students are paying off.

ECU says it has a couple strategies to increase international students, including simplifying the application process and having programs like First Friends, that connects international students to domestic ones.

The study highlights data from 2018, but early findings for this year show the trend is set to continue, with a 1-2% drop in international student enrollment in American universities.