California remains a popular destination for foreign students, but international student enrollment at colleges and universities nationwide declined sharply this fall amid the pandemic, according to data released Monday.

The enrollment of new international students at U.S. higher education institutions was down by 43% this fall, and 90% of campuses reported that foreign students deferred attendance to a future term, according to a report released by the Institute of International Education.

The brief study offered a national snapshot of the effects of COVID-19 on international student enrollment based on data from more than 700 colleges and universities. The fall data were released in conjunction with the institute’s annual Open Doors report, which provides a more comprehensive look at international student enrollment for the 2019-20 school year.

Gaurav Khanna, an assistant professor of economics at UC San Diego, said the last several months had led to significant declines in the number of visas issued to international students, who were stymied by the closure of U.S. consulates and visa restrictions imposed by the federal government amid the pandemic.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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