How Will Trump’s Middle Eastern Ban Impact Higher Ed

The Middle East

The Middle EastAs was predicted, Donald Trump’s first week in office has been as eventful as his campaign trail. Those who assumed his assumption of the US presidency would result in a calmer and more considered approach to leadership of the free world will be disappointed this week, as he has begun by enacting a number of very controversial bills.

The most controversial of these is his decision to temporarily bar entry to citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations. These are: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. For 90 days from the date the ban was enacted, citizens of these nations will largely will unable to enter the USA, and there has also been widespread concerns that dual nationals holding citizenship in one of these countries would also be barred.

The full text of the order is available here.

A surprise for many

Many officials in the USA claimed they had no advanced notice of the order, and that it had come as a surprise even for members of the government, let alone the general public. The decision is likely to affect 17,000 students in the country, the majority of which (12,269) are Iranian. On top of this, 2,300 scholars and academics are also impacted.

Flags of Iran and the USACitizens from the countries mentioned, excluding diplomats, will be left unable to receive a visa to enter the USA, and some already in possession of a visa have been told that it is now invalid. For the rest of the world, increased screening, interviews and thorough documentation checks will be awaiting their arrival in the country.


The speed with which Trump brought the order in, coupled with the fact that many government officials were unaware of it, has led to much confusion. Reports also suggest that it was inconsistently applied by travel operators and border control staff, especially during the first few days.

The Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) have both issued statements condemning the order, warning that it could damage the higher education sector.

It’s unclear what will happen after the 90 day period is over, but it seems inevitable that this draconian restriction can only cause damage to the sector.

Find out more about Trump’s higher education policies.

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