Number of foreign graduate students in America falls
WASHINGTON: The number of foreign students pursuing advanced degrees at US universities fell this year, strengthening a trend that began after the attacks of Sept 11, 2001, according to a report released on Wednesday.
“This survey confirms, as we have suspected for some time, that most of the nation’s leading research universities are experiencing declines in international graduate enrolment,” said Nils Hasselmo, president of the Association of American Universities. “The major factors are US visa policy, increased international competition and perceptions that the United States is no longer a welcoming country,” he said.
The survey conducted by five higher education organizations led by the Association of International Educators found that nearly half of the 480 colleges surveyed reported a decline in new enrolments of overseas graduate students compared to last year, while just under a quarter reported an increase.
However, among schools with the greatest foreign enrolments — some two dozen universities that each enrol 2,500 foreign students — nearly two thirds reported falling numbers both of new and continuing graduate students. The report did not give raw numbers or quantify the decline in absolute terms. .
The trend was less pronounced among undergraduates. Still, in the universities with the largest foreign student bodies, 54 percent reported a decline in numbers while 32 percent said their numbers had grown.
University heads have been warning for some time that new, stringent security requirements put into place after the Sept. 11 attacks, have deterred large numbers of foreign students from coming to the United States. At least one of the Sept 11 hijackers entered the country on a student visa. After that, Congress mandated the establishment of a computerized system in which all foreign students are registered and can be tracked. Graduate school applications from international students declined 32 percent from 2003 to 2004, the Council of Graduate Schools reported earlier this year.
Foreign students and their dependents pump an estimated $13 billion a year into the US economy. Even more importantly, education officials argue that talented graduate students, especially in engineering, science and technology, bring invaluable talent to the US. reuters