St. Edward’s decline in international students proves to be national trend


Gracie Watt

Though international students are still enrolling at St. Edward’s, the enrollment rate has recently been in decline. This decline has also been seen in other U.S. universities in recent years.

In recent years, St. Edward’s and other U.S. universities have been experiencing a decline in international student enrollment.

This year, St. Edward’s has a 7% enrollment of international students. As of now, 57 countries and languages are represented in campus life. In the past, St. Edward’s had hosted international students from multiple countries and had experienced an increase in international student enrollment. 

According to David Bernay, Director of International Admission, the majority of international students enroll in the fall semester, and in a typical semester, 5-10 international students visit campus.

“We [have] been able to maintain the core numbers of international students who come from all over the world here. Just to give you a sense of perspective, the peak of our international enrollment here [was] probably a 10% and now we’re back down at 7% or so,” Bernay says. 

Bernay also talks about the possible factors that could’ve affected the enrollment of international students, such as loss of scholarships and geopolitical forces like political changes in the U.S., weather disasters and economic factors. 

“For a period of four or five years, we had 25 students per year as a part of our freshman class that were from Saudi Arabia. Those students were funded fully by their government to come here. That scholarship program had stop about four years ago [and] that is one of the major reasons for decline,” Bernay says. “I don’t consider that to be a decline personally because to me it’s already stopped years ago. So I’m dealing on the short term rather than the long term and talking about decline from other international students. That wasn’t just a St. Edward’s issue, that was an issue across the world,” says Bernay.  

Lara Schmid, a mathematics major and tennis player from Ueberlingen, Germany, provides her thoughts on this matter. 

“I think this is a trend I imagine is very common [in] American universities. I don’t believe you can pinpoint an issue at St. Edwards,” Schmid says. 

On the other hand, Camila Baeza, a marketing major and an athlete in the Women’s tennis, from Monterrey, Mexico, believes that tuition plays a role in the decline.

“Prices have increased which unfortunately makes it harder for international students to end up studying abroad,” Baeza says. 

Aside from the decline, Bernay explains the recruiting process, which includes visiting students in various places.

“At St. Edward’s, it’s really about the personal connection with students and so for us, it’s most important that we know students themselves, as individuals, but also we get to know their families,” Bernay says.

Besides recruiting, one of the roles of the international admission department is helping students settle in on campus. These responsibilities include setting up a week-long orientation for international students where they learn about the U.S. university system, helping them understand their visa requirements and how to maintain their international student status, arranging pick-ups at the airport and helping them get to know the city.

“I feel like St Edward’s is a place where everyone belongs,” says Luis Diaz Argente, a business administration major and tennis player from Madrid, Spain. 

The staff was very helpful to Schmid during her first semester at St. Edward’s. 

“When I began talking to the faculty regarding attending St. Edward’s, all my emails were answered immediately and they were very willing to help with any queries I had. I recognized that to this school I wouldn’t become a number and I felt I would be valued as a student and an athlete,” she says. 

Baeza believes that the students at St. Edward’s also played a role in helping her settle in on-campus. 

“I’ve met amazing people through my first year that have made me feel welcome.”