International Student Mobility in a Competitive World: Determinants and US Policy Before and After Post 9/11

Lindsay Lowell, Georgetown University
Pramod Khadka, Georgetown University

Student visas dropped after 9/11 and startled observers, worried about US enrollments, offered varying explanations. We analyze US issued student visas for a large sample of nations from 2000 to 2004. We find that source country educational capacity increases emigration, but at a decreasing rate when interacted with per capita GDP. Lagged visa rejection rates reduce visa issuances, but the effect is small and no greater than exchange rate weighted tuition costs which also reduce visas. International enrollments in other English speaking countries reduce visas, but that effect zeros out with the introduction of a post-2001 dummy. The greatest deterrent to visa demand post 9/11 was neither policy nor even sharp increases in US tuition, but perhaps the same fears, etc., that depressed other temporary visas or tourism. Demand for US student visas is likely to remain strong or even increase as other nations gear up their competitive educational capacity.

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Presented in Session 149: International Migration II