Report Gives First Comprehensive Look at the Effects of Declining International Student Enrollment on the Nation
For Immediate Release

Washington, May 29, 2019 — NAFSA: Association of International Educators released a new report outlining the dangers of declining enrollment of international students and scholars and calling on Congress to take action to stop this national threat. According to the experts and data outlined in the report, "Losing Talent: An Economic and Foreign Policy Risk America Can't Ignore," harmful policies and anti-immigrant rhetoric have created a chilling effect on enrollment, as the United States is increasingly viewed as unwelcoming to international students and scholars.

Download a copy of the report

The report, which lays out a compelling case for why the United States needs to reverse this negative perception in order to compete for the global talent, features research such as NAFSA’s economic value data and studies by the National Foundation for American Policy and the Niskanen Center. "Losing Talent" explains the economic cost of international students avoiding the United States while exploring the policy changes driving the declines. Higher education, national security, and business leaders including Business Roundtable CEOs Tim Cook of Apple, Chuck Robbins of Cisco Systems, and Indra K. Nooyi, formerly of PepsiCo are featured as a reminder to readers for their on the record statements which explain the importance of international education. Examples of former international students and their innovative accomplishments in the sciences, business, and healthcare and are also included, which encapsulate the real-world value these individuals bring to their communities.

The report also includes case studies of competitor countries – including Canada, India and China – that are benefiting from more welcoming policies and intentional recruitment strategies. The double-digit enrollment increases in these and other countries run counter to the U.S. decline and demonstrate how the United States is losing market share of the world’s talent.

"After more than a decade of enrollment growth, the United States' two years of declining new international student enrollment for the first time since 2003, is of grave concern to foreign policy experts and economists alike," said Esther D. Brimmer, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO. "This downward trend must stop in order for the United States to remain competitive in today's global market. International students and scholars create jobs, drive innovation, enrich our classrooms, strengthen national security, and become America's greatest foreign policy assets. International students and scholars are truly great for America."

The "Losing Talent" report is available at Learn more about the value of international students and scholars and find policy recommendations to boost enrollment at

Sample Tweet: NAFSA releases new "Losing Talent" report explaining the benefits of #IntlEd and how the U.S. is falling behind other countries that prioritize attracting and retaining #IntlStudents #WelcomeToSucceed

About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit and @ConnectOurWorld  on Twitter.