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March 13, 2017

President Trump signing his first executive order on immigration in Janary, temporarily barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press) 

On Thursday the White House is implementing its revised executive order on immigration. President Trump’s new travel ban now excludes Iraq, but it holds temporary travel restrictions on residents from six other predominantly Muslim countries from obtaining a visa for at least 90 days. 

Trump's new immigration policies and rhetoric are disrupting international college admissions, and could cost American universities millions of dollars in tuition revenue.

Northeastern University enrolls about 250 students from the countries targeted in Trump's travel ban -- the most of any school in the U.S. after the University of Southern California.

Mike Armini oversees government relations at Northeastern, and he says students who are already here have been told not to leave the country.

"Fortunately, almost all of them are here on campus right now, so we haven't seen any disruption in their education," Armini said.

But the timing of Trump’s travel ban could affect Northeastern’s campus next year.

Acceptance letters are going out, and Armini says Northeastern is reaching out to concerned students around the globe.

“What we're trying to do is model that and anticipate what we might be dealing with in the fall," he said.

Armini worries that international students will read and hear about travel restrictions in the U.S. and stay away.

“The concern for us is not metrics or dollars," he said. "It's really about making sure that we can maintain a global profile and not have countries completely absent from the campus."

But there is a lot at stake here. Under Trump's ban, universities like Northeastern could lose millions in tuition revenue.

Most foreign students pay full price, and a recent survey shows students from the targeted countries in Trump’s travel ban bring in more than $500 million to the U.S. economy each year.

“Our institutions are very concerned,” said Melanie Gottlieb, deputy director with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

The Association surveyed more than 250 colleges to get an idea of the early effects of Trump's immigration policies. The results? Four in 10 of the colleges that responded have seen a drop in international applications.

"There are concerns that the rules might change," Gottlieb said. "Students, while they're still applying to the U.S. - they are hedging their bets and they are also applying to places like Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand." 

Related: Trump's Travel Ban Stems Confusion, Anxiety On Campus

The survey finds admissions officers worry about losing students to those English-speaking countries, as their counterparts in Canada, the U.K. and Australia are chomping at the bit.

“The international market is very live. It’s very competitive,” said Bruce Dowton, president of Macquarie University in Sydney.

The public research university enrolls more than 12,000 foreign student, making up a quarter of its enrollment load.

"A lot of those are from Asia, but we do have students from 130 countries around the world," he said.

Dowton says Macquarie has seen a 30 percent uptick in applications from other countries since Trump's election. He sees an unwelcome climate in the U.S. as a welcome change in the international student market.

"We certainly look to provide an attractive offering for students to come to Macquarie, and I know other university presidents around Australia see it the same way," he said. 

While Macquarie is stepping up its recruitment efforts abroad,  it’s too early to know whether Trump’s travel ban and heated rhetoric will drive enrollment up Down Under.  

Earlier: How Trump's Rhetoric Could Cost Colleges Billions In Lost Tuition Revenue

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