American universities and colleges are concerned there will be a reduction in the number of students coming from the Middle East this year, driven in part by the Trump travel ban for some Muslims and against a backdrop of tense race relations, education experts said.
A report by the Institute of International Education, a non-profit organisation, found admissions professionals have seen prospective students express worries about the prospect of studying in the United States.
Jill Welch, deputy executive director of public policy for NAFSA: Association of International Educators, said:
"While there have been preliminary snapshots released on international student yield for the upcoming academic year, it is still too early to tell how international student enrolment for the 2017-18 academic year has been impacted.
"Some institutions have reported lower international application and yield numbers, and this chilling effect could have been created by harmful policies such as the executive order travel ban - which is perceived worldwide as a thinly-veiled attempt to target Muslim-majority countries - and the proposed RAISE Act, which among other damaging reforms, would cut legal US immigration by half if enacted.
"These damaging policies and the administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric do not represent America’s values, and NAFSA and citizens from across the United States have actively pushed back against such policies.
"We will continue to monitor all incoming data, including SEVIS fee payment data and visa approvals, to determine the impact of world events on international education and recruitment. And we will continue advocating against any policies that may have negative repercussions for our heritage as a nation that welcomes immigrants of all backgrounds.
"To the students, scholars, doctors, refugees, family members and other who wonder if the United States has lost its commitment to its core values as a nation of freedom, opportunity and welcome, NAFSA unequivocally states that American citizens will not tolerate policies that undermine our values and endanger our safety.
"We understand that America is part of the global community, and we will raise our voices with Congress, with the White House, with the media and in our communities to continue to adhere to the principles that have always made us strongest.
"As stated previously, we are heartened that institutions are actively engaging in this issue and boosting their efforts to ensure our campuses reflect a globally engaged and welcoming United States."