Caught in the crossfire of the U.S-China trade war, Chinese students are looking for alternative study destinations -- threatening to turn off an important source of revenue for American universities.
China accounts for nearly a third of foreign students on U.S campuses who pour billions of dollars into the economy, but in March their numbers dropped for the first time in a decade.
Visa delays, concerns over being shut out of research projects and safety fears have turned off Chinese students, according to several admissions consultancies and nearly a dozen parents and students interviewed by 'AFP'.
Rival education powerhouses such as Britain, Australia and Canada are the biggest beneficiaries, a survey by New Oriental China's biggest private education provider said.
Japan and South Korea -- traditional study abroad destinations for the Chinese elite -- and parts of Europe, especially Germany and Scandinavian countries with strong engineering programmes, have also seen an uptick in applications, the survey found.
The chilling effect started mid-last year, after President Donald Trump's administration slashed the visa duration of students in science and technology fields from five years to one in some cases.
(with news agency inputs)