As the world watched one of the most divisive, tense elections in recent history, America said hello to new president-elect Joe Biden and the first ever black female vice president-elect Kamala Harris. And while the path to the Oval Office has been rocky to say the least, inauguration is just round the corner. 

We wanted to find out what that meant for the international students looking to live the American Dream. Here’s what we found when asking over 800 current and prospective students from around the world what they were feeling, now that the Biden administration is taking office. 

1. The overall feeling is positive

A collective sigh of relief was heard when asking students from the likes of Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Overall, seven in 10 students told us they felt at least somewhat positive when they heard the news that Biden had been elected. Similarly half of students felt at least somewhat positive when they heard Kamala Harris would be VP.

2. And that translates to international students’ study plans 

 

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Six in 10 international students told us they are more likely to study in the US once Trump’s term ends and Biden becomes president. When breaking it down by region, North American and African students had the most increased likelihood of studying in the US. Brand Biden can be seen as a fantastic result for institutions looking to recruit international students, and international education policies can expect a reset that will work in your favor. 

3. And that translates to international students’ study plans 

Six in 10 international students told us they are more likely to study in the US once Trump’s term ends and Biden becomes president. When breaking it down by region, North American and African students had the most increased likelihood of studying in the US. Brand Biden can be seen as a fantastic result for institutions looking to recruit international students, and international education policies can expect a reset that will work in your favor.  

4. Demographics matter

Females are now 18% more likely than males to want to study in the US once Trump’s term ends. We also see this demographic split when looking at race, with Hispanic and Latino people being 23% more likely than white people to want to study in the US once Trump’s term ends. 

When asking these students why they felt that way, the top reasons were that they would experience less racism, feel safer in the US, and that Biden’s policies would be more progressive. How can you relay messages of community, acceptance and safety to your more marginalised students, harnessing that current optimism that they are feeling? Can you ignite and empower current international students to share their stories over social media and contribute to future open day content to reassure prospective students looking to the US?

5. It’s always been safety first

And on the note of students hoping for less racism, more progressive policies and feeling safer, this doesn’t just apply to the smaller pockets of the student audience. Generally, international students as a whole are over twice as likely to feel safe and welcome in the US under the Biden presidency. And if harnessed correctly, that sentiment can trickle down to their feelings towards your institution too. 

Overall, the general attitude towards the change of administration encompasses positivity, optimism and hope. While barriers for international students are still present, and racism and safety concerns in a foreign country such as the US are by no means over, this new year is an opportunity for your institution to stand loud and proud about how you have and always will be ready to welcome all types of students, from anywhere in the world. 

Let your communications and marketing tell that story and ensure you're creating the kind of environment that these international students are truly hoping for. Our marketing experts can help you achieve that, as well as providing even more student insight. Just get in touch today and we can go from there. 

We will also be presenting these findings in an exclusive webinar on Wednesday 20 January to unpick what these insights mean for your student recruitment efforts. It's free to attend, so sign up here today.  

Article by

Eleana Davidson Native Author

Eleana Davidson

Senior Marketing Executive