Fewer international students are enrolling in Midwest colleges. At what cost?

Talal S. Alanazi from Saudi Arabia is staying enrolled at the University of Missouri despite President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and restrictive immigration and foreign travel policies.

He does it for MU’s “strong chemical engineering program” in Columbia. But just as important, he said, is that “the diversity here helped me to be open and understanding of different world traditions, which made me grow into a better and more cultured person.”

U.S. campuses across the country are seeing fewer students like Alanazi.

Since Trump stepped into the White House a year ago the number of international students at colleges has dropped significantly. Experts in part blame an unwelcoming climate fostered from the top down in the U.S.

“A significant proportion of institutions (56.8 percent) report that the U.S. social and political environment and feeling unwelcome in the United states are factors contributing to new international student declines,” said a recent report by The Institute of International Education.

The institute said the number of newly arriving international students declined an average 7 percent at colleges in the fall of 2017 compared to 2016. Some schools are seeing steeper drops.

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