From La Opinión:

The number of foreigners studying in the United States is still below the level there were before the 2001 attacks, after which immigration restrictions were imposed that continue to make it difficult for people to enter the country, according to a study by Congress released this weekend.

Almost all the students depend on their own resources and only 321 of them enjoyed the benefits offered by the State Department. Similarly, almost all of them come from Europe or Asia, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Study, called “Higher Education: Strategies of the United States and other countries to attract and finance internatinal students” [couldn’t find any link. boo]
was released to a gathering of multiple committees that took place in the House of Representatives and presided over by Congressman William Delahunt.

Yawn. This is soooo not a surprise. We have become incredibly hostile to foreign students. Land of opportunity my ass. If we don’t want to continue falling in education rankings we need to be able to make it possible for people to come here and contribute.

On a side note, I would also like to see how much of this fall is due to immigration restrictions and how much is due to the fact that, compared to other countries where higher education is highly subsidized if not free, going to the U.S. makes no financial sense for most students. It’s often just not worth the money when they can get something as good (or better) at home, or in in Europe for example. I know, it hurts to think we wouldn’t be the educational consumer’s choice, but there’s competition for ya, what a bitch.

Anywhoo, in the end, immigration restrictions, or should I say, a general climate of hostility is, indeed, a factor. A friend of mine was frustrated recently by, but still able to laugh at, all the hoops he had to jump through just to attend a 6 week summer film editing course in New York (he’s Italian). Besides proving you have all the money to provide for your stay, he had to go to an interview where they asked him ludicrously useless questions like “do you hate America?” or “have you ever been part of a terrorist group?” These types of hurdles only serve to intimidate, to treat students like (really really stupid) suspects.

Further example: the first result when I googled “foreign students in US:  “Foreign Students Labeled “Threats””.  Sigh.