Kirk Brennan, director of undergraduate admission at the University of Southern California, was on a bus in Baotou earlier this month, part of a multi-school recruiting trip in Inner Mongolia, when he heard the news: The Chinese Education Ministry had issued a warning to students studying in the U.S. to be vigilant about restrictions on academic visas.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of international students in general — and Chinese students in particular — to U.S. colleges and universities. Second only to New York University in its international student population, USC draws about 12% of its 47,000 students from China. Its 1,000 Chinese undergraduates alone could bring in more than $50 million in annual tuition revenue.
But the increasingly fraught relationship over trade between the U.S. and China threatens that pipeline. Orientations for incoming USC first-years in Beijing and Shanghai went off without a hitch last week, Brennan said, and as of now, the school has yet to confront “these kinds of road blocks.’’