Many higher-education professionals attribute the shift in popularity to the "Trump Effect," suggesting that President Donald Trump's criticisms of foreigners is causing students to choose Canada over the United States.
Alan Shepard, president of Concordia University in Quebec told The New York Times, "The so-called Trump Effect is real when it comes to enrollment in Canada. Applications from international students for this coming fall's semester have surged."
"Our political climate appeared to be the problem," writes Dennis Hanno, president of Wheaton College in Massachusetts, in The Washington Post. "If this is a trend, it is worrisome."
Hanno explains that international students make considerable contributions to American students both financial and otherwise. International students, he says, provide a "significant source of tuition revenue that directly benefits domestic students." Overall, "International students contribute $35 billion to the U.S. economy."
He adds that international perspectives improve the education of American students. "Diversity is an educational asset, and international students are a rich source of meaningful difference," says Hanno.
More broadly, he argues that it is important for the United States to remain a leader in education if it hopes to be a leader in the world. "The world's view of the United States as a land of opportunity is based, in no small measure, on the possibilities that our colleges and universities create," he writes.
Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook
Don't miss: This is the age most Americans pay off their student loans