Foreign Policy Digital

Universities Aren’t Ready for Trade War Casualties

American schools have become dependent on Chinese student money.

The sudden turn for the worse in trade talks between the United States and China has left markets shaken and governments on edge. As relations between the two largest economies sour, the future has taken on a darker cast.

Some affected U.S. industries have protested the spiraling tariffs. Others have been promised protection and subsidies by the Trump administration. Yet one U.S. industry is far more exposed than any other—and far less likely to receive compensation from the White House. The trade war leaves U.S. higher education far more endangered than its leaders realize.

Higher education plays many roles in the United States, including research, workforce development, and cultivating students’ ability to engage as citizens. Viewed from an international economics perspective, however, it’s also a major exporter of services—over annually, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Almost international students studied in the world.

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