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Contrary to national trends, UW-Madison sees rise in international applications

Contrary to national trends, UW-Madison saw an increase or applications from international students  in Fall 2016

Image By: Alicia Shoberg

Amid growing anti-immigrant sentiment, international student enrollment in American universities has fallen in the past year; however, the addition of the Common Application to the admissions process could have contributed to the increase in international student enrollment at UW-Madison.

Data show 39 percent of universities in the U.S. reported a decline in international student applications. In contrast, UW-Madison has seen a 14 percent increase in international student applications over the past year after offering prospective students the option of applying using the Common Application.

Nationally, universities report a decline in international students from Middle Eastern countries, according to a survey conducted by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Many universities fear these numbers will dip even lower as anti-Muslim sentiment grows in the U.S., especially following President Donald Trump’s executive travel ban, according to Inside HigherEd.

However, graduate and undergraduate enrollment at UW-Madison from the six countries included in the ban has remained steady over the past year.

According to the survey conducted by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 35 percent of the universities reported an increase, and 26 percent reported no change in international enrollment. A report from Inside HigherEd indicated that many universities have based future budgets on this sustained or increased enrollment of international students.

Over one-quarter of universities in the U.S. reported a decline in undergraduate applications from India. However, UW-Madison has seen an increase in undergraduate students from India in the past year. The majority of all international students in the U.S. are from India or China, and this is consistent at UW-Madison with 60 percent of all international students this spring semester coming from China and India, according to the Office of the Registrar.

This Fall 2016 semester was the first time UW-Madison gave prospective students the option of either the Common Application or a UW System application.

Since switching to the Common Application, UW-Madison has seen an increase in enrollment across demographics, including a 3 percent increase in Wisconsin applicants, and an 8.3 percent overall increase in applicants.

The university does not prefer one application over the other but asks students to complete one application all the way through, according to Kara Zavada, communications specialist for the Office of Admissions

The university hopes the addition of the Common Application will continue to encourage a more diverse applicant pool and contribute to rising international student enrollment.

“Joining the Common Application will allow us to expand our reach to those who might not have otherwise considered our university. It will also likely increase the diversity of our applicants and assist in our efforts to attract more of the best students from around Wisconsin, the nation, and the world,” stated Adele C. Brumfield, UW-Madison director of admissions and recruitment.

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