Graduate enrolment of international students at United States universities has declined for the second consecutive year, according to the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). This decline in first-time graduate enrolment of international students is four times that of last year’s decrement at 0.9 percent. This decline has been said to correspond with the tightening of immigration policies under the Trump administration. CGS President Suzanne Ortega said that the observed decline was agonizing.
“The 3.7 percent decrement in first-time enrolment between fall 2016 and fall 2017 is the second consecutive decline witnessed since 2003. While it is difficult to identify the cause for the decline, the current immigration policy in the United States may be a contributing factor.” This may have resulted in causing some international graduate students to reevaluate US as a destination. In addition, while the five-year and 10-year average annual increase estimates for international students (4.7 percent and 5.6 percent respectively) remain steady. However, they have decreased from 7.8 percent and 7.4 percent respectively last year.
America takes the lead in graduate education and research and its success stems from diversity. Therefore, any threat to universities’ capacity in attracting and retaining global talent is going to affect innovation and fundamentally the competitiveness of American higher education and economy. Therefore, many graduates schools should acknowledge this urgency and formulate proactive and sustainable approaches for the purpose of expanding and diversifying international student enrolment.
While the overall number of enrolment has declined, some fields of study have witnessed an increment, including business, public administration and services, education and mathematics and computer sciences. International students constitutes the largest share of first-time graduate students in mathematics and computer sciences at 56.3 percent, followed by engineering at 52.9 percent.
Source: University World News
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