International student enrollment has been on the decline since the fall of 2016, and, according to estimates from NAFSA, has cost the US economy $11.8 billion and more than 65,000 jobs. In an interview with CNN from last November, Rachel Banks, the Director of Public Policy at NAFSA said, "There's many variables, but largely it's been the policies and rhetoric from the current administration that's really driven the numbers to move in that direction.” This current reality has been dubbed “The Trump Effect” or “The Trump Factor” by education professionals across the industry.
On this week’s episode, we sit down with Katie Beczak, who is the Associate Director of International Enrollment at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), to discuss the impact Trump’s presidency has had on their bottom-line. Katie shares how the enrollment management team at RIT has been able to successfully attract, enroll, and retain graduate students during a time when many other institutions are struggling to do so. Throughout the conversation, we wrestle with questions like:
- Have you heard any response from international student prospects after Trump became president regarding the idea of pursuing graduate education in the US? Were there any common sentiments or frequently asked questions or concerns?
- Do you think there’s been a change in the perception of value from the international stage for pursuing graduate education in the US? Why or why not?
- What has been your marketing and student recruitment response to this? Can you talk in detail about any tactical or strategic shifts you’ve made? What strategies and tactics have you used in the past to attract international students and which are you using now?
- What market factors do you think could be impacting your international graduate student enrollment BEYOND the Trump effect?