Impact of trade tensions with China being felt in American schools and universities

Impact of trade tensions with China being felt in American schools and universities
Impact of trade tensions with China being felt in American schools and universities

Some foreign students are getting an education in red tape, thanks to the ongoing trade war with China.

President Trump is still taking a hard-line stance on trade, imposing tariffs and insisting they'll stay in place until the U.S. gets a new deal with China that the President says will level the playing field on imports and exports. It's been a hot topic on Capitol Hill recently, but outside of Washington, the uptick in trade tensions have produced and unexpected result, with students and American schools and universities caught in the crossfire.

A tightening of American visa restrictions since the start of trade tensions has led to delays and - in some cases - denials for Chinese students who have applied to study in the United States. And educators say it also impacts those who want to stay in America after graduation. Jeff Brown is Dean of the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; about 800 students are from China, accounting for roughly a fifth of the school's income. With that relationship at risk, Brown took out an insurance policy earlier this year to protect the school against massive potential losses in revenue.

But he says the current policy also hurts American businesses as well. "Most of the students that graduate from my college would prefer to stay here and work. The reason is we have made it difficult for them to do so. That's why they all go back home," said Brown, who also asked "when we train somebody and they have a PhD in engineering, why wouldn't we want to keep them here to create companies and innovate jobs?"

More than a million international students study here every year, generating more than $40 billion in economic activity. About a third are from China, but now many of those students are starting to look to Europe for their education, afraid they might face issues entering and leaving the U.S. And just last week, China issued travel alerts for students in the U.S., citiing an uptick in what it calls harassment from immigration officials. The escalation in tensions has some schools pushing for a policy change, making it easier for international students to study and work in America. But with no end in sight to the trade war, it's unclear if that effort will be successful.

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