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International student enrollment up in U.S., but applications flat

by Andrea Widener
February 13, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 7

The number of international students enrolled in U.S. graduate schools in the fall of 2016 was up 5% compared with the previous year, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools. But the overall number of international student applications grew just 1% in 2016, the slowest growth rate in years. That dip was driven by fewer applications from India (down 1%), the Middle East and North Africa (down 5%), South Korea (down 5%), and Brazil (down 11%). Engineering and physical sciences enrolled the largest percentage of first time doctoral students, with 29% and 13% of the 20,684 enrolled. (Chemistry was not measured separately.) Those two fields, however, did not garner the most applications. “The continued increase in enrollments is good news for U.S. universities, but we can’t take that position for granted,” said CGS President Suzanne Ortega. President Trump’s recent executive order temporarily barring entry of visa holders from seven Muslim majority countries is concerning, she says. “Universities in the U.S. and around the world are waiting to see the potential impact of the uncertain policy environment on the mobility patterns of international graduate students.”


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