Northwestern braves tightened student visa policies as graduate international student enrollment increases

Cadence Quaranta, Reporter

Though international student enrollment is slowing or declining across the country, Northwestern’s enrollment increased under the Trump administration’s tightened student visa restrictions.

Theresa Johnson, interim director of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, said the growth comes from professional master’s programs in particular.

“(Our programs) are so unique to the United States, and there are not a lot of similar programs elsewhere,” Johnson said. “Most of academia overseas is more academic in nature, rather than applied. So I think people are seeking out education in the U.S. for that reason.”

Visa delays, though, have become a more common problem among international students. Johnson said NU students have experienced increased “administrative processing,” or delays with background checks. Some students are still waiting for their visas, she added.

As a top university, NU continues to turn away international students, Johnson said. International undergraduate enrollment numbers have remained constant in recent years.

Anto Mufarech, a Medill freshman from Peru, said she initially worried about the application process, but it went more smoothly than she anticipated at the embassy. Now,she’s more afraid about what will come after graduation, she said.

Because non-STEM majors are only allowed to remain in the United States up to one year after graduation, Mufarech said she fears she will be forced to leave the U.S. before she can use any of the skills she gained at Northwestern, much less fulfill her dream of becoming a reporter.

“I’m scared,” she said. “The only hope I have is that it will change.”

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