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Just the Stats: Capitalizing Higher Education in the Global Market

Although U.S. graduate schools admitted eight percent more international students this fall, that growth rate is considerably lower than 2006’s 12 percent increase, according to a new report from the Council of Graduates Schools. 

The results in the report, “2007 International Graduate Admissions Survey, Phase II: Final Applications and Initial Offers of Admissions,” are based on a three-part annual survey of international graduate student admissions among American CGS member institutions. Out of the 473 institutions, 160 responded, which is a 34 percent response rate.  Despite the response rate, 84 percent of the largest 25 schools responded.  This is the second year in a row that American schools as a whole experienced an increase in applications from international students, although about 78 percent of respondents reported receiving fewer international applicants this year than in 2003.

The report also found that American universities are facing increasing competition for students from other countries that are actively recruiting and responding to the global marketplace. Nearly 30 percent of all graduate schools in the U.S. have formed alliances with international universities creating dual- or joint-degree programs. An additional  24 percent of U.S. graduate schools reported their intent to form international collaborations within the next two years. 

“U.S. graduate education has long been recognized as the best in the world, but other countries are actively recruiting talented domestic and international students,” said Debra W. Stewart, CGS president “This report highlights how U.S. graduate schools are establishing collaborative degree programs with institutions overseas as one response to increasing global competition.” 

Over one-third of all U.S. institutions that have any collaborative degree programs, have a collaborative master’s degree program with European colleges and universities, compared to six percent with Middle Eastern universities.  Three of the six regions surveyed have collaborative doctoral programs, and 18 percent of U.S. doctoral-granting institutions surveyed have a doctoral program set up with European institutions.

Table 2

Major Field of Interest

Seventy-three percent of incoming graduate students are in the fields of business, engineering, social sciences, physical sciences and life sciences.  Specifically, business graduate applications have doubled from seven percent to 15 percent. Engineering applications have significantly increased from eight percent to 13 percent. However, social sciences saw a small gain of offers of admission at only four percent, with no changes in applications. 

Table 3

According to the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics, the institutions that enrolled the most international graduate students were:

Table 4.5

The CGS report found a 19 percent increase in applications from China for admission this fall; 12 percent from India and 17 percent from the Middle East. There was also a considerable increase in applications from South Korean students.

– Olivia Majesky-Pullmann

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