Rebound Continues in Foreign Admissions to American Graduate Programs

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Aug 9 12:53:19 UTC 2006

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Rebound Continues in Foreign Admissions to American Graduate Programs,
Survey Finds

The number of foreign students admitted to American graduate schools rose
in 2006 for the second straight year, according to the results of a survey
scheduled for release today by the Council of Graduate Schools. The
12-percent increase for the coming academic year is consistent with the
rise in applications that the council reported in March, and could herald
a significant growth in graduate foreign enrollments this fall. The survey
found that admissions for the 2006-7 academic year were up in most fields
of study, with engineering seeing the sharpest increase, up 26 percent
over 2005-6. Business also experienced a double-digit percentage increase,
up 12 percent. Those two fields, along with the physical sciences, which
saw a 5-percent increase in admissions, rely heavily on foreign students
to fill enrollments.

This year also saw many more students admitted from India and China, the
two countries that send the most students to the United States. Admissions
from India increased by 28 percent over last year, while admissions from
China increased by 20 percent. Last year admissions from India increased
by 8 percent, while admissions from China declined by 5 percent. Most of
the admission increases or decreases in the individual categories
corresponded closely to the percentage changes seen in the number of
applications for those categories. Less consistency was found last year,
when total foreign applications were down by 5 percent, but admissions
still increased by 3 percent.

That 3-percent increase preceded a 1-percent rise in first-time
enrollments, and because offers of admissions are historically a good
predictor of first-time enrollments, this year's 12-percent increase is
likely to signal more substantial growth. The survey, which uses data from
more than 150 of the council's members, including more than 90 percent of
those in the top 25 in terms of international student enrollments, also
asked respondents to answer two questions. In response to the first
question, more than 99 percent of respondents said that the quality of
applicants they had admitted was the same or higher than the quality of
those they admitted last year.

In response to the second question, two-thirds of graduate schools said
they had made at least one change in resources to improve outreach to
foreign students. Such changes included hiring new staff members or
devoting more staff time, creating new international programs or
collaborations, increasing funds for marketing and promotion of graduate
programs, and increasing funds for international recruitment trips.
One-third of respondents reported undertaking more than one of those

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