International education is at a critical juncture. The COVID-19 pandemic, which began to impact U.S. higher education institutions in March 2020, has sharply reduced new international student enrollment and grounded U.S. study abroad programming. Restoring international education will require a dedicated effort through administrative action.

NAFSA urges the White House to lead the development of a detailed international education strategy. Building off the Joint Statement of Principles issued on July 26, 2021 by the U.S. Departments of State and Education, and working in close partnership with key international education stakeholders, the strategy should set targets, support policies, and fund programs to:

  • increase the number and diversity of international students at U.S. higher education institutions; 
  • increase the number and diversity of American students participating in study abroad programs; and
  • encourage global higher education institutional partnerships that will facilitate internationalized curricula, foreign language instruction, collaborative research, and faculty mobility. 

A White House-led international education strategy that establishes and pursues international recruitment and exchange goals will ensure the United States attracts and retains the best and brightest international students and scholars and that U.S. students are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experiences that will position them for future success in the global economy. The combined effect will be of vital importance to American foreign policy, diplomacy, innovation, national security, economic growth, and global competitiveness.

View NAFSA's detailed recommendations on creating and implementing a national strategy for international education, A White House-led International Education Strategy to Recruit Global Talent and Strengthen U.S. Competitiveness.

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