International graduate applications and admissions in science and technology: the role of graduate education in supporting innovation

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Date: Jan. 2008
From: The Review of Policy Research(Vol. 25, Issue 1)
Publisher: Policy Studies Organization
Document Type: Report
Length: 5,380 words
Lexile Measure: 1560L

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Every year since 2004, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has undertaken an extensive, multi-year empirical examination of international graduate application, admission, and enrollment trends. This analysis responds to member institutions' concerns about continuing changes in the enrollment of students from abroad seeking master's and doctoral degrees from American colleges and universities. The analysis also responds to concerns about international student trends in enrollments in science, engineering, and technology programs at American graduate schools.

The core of this examination is a three-phase survey of CGS member institutions. The survey collects an initial snapshot of graduate school applications (Phase I, conducted in February of each year), final applications and an initial picture of admissions offers (Phase II, June), and final offers of admission, first-time enrollments, and total enrollments (Phase III, October). The 2004 Phase II report found a 28% decrease in international applications and an 18% decline in initial admissions offers. (1) In 2005, applications fell by 5%, but admissions offers grew 3%. (2) Last year's Phase II report revealed a 12% increase in both final applications and initial offers of admission. (3)

CGS survey data for 2007 suggest that American graduate schools have continued to attract an increasing number of applications from prospective international students, and offers of admission also continue to rise--particularly for prospective students in science and engineering fields. But the overall rates of increase in both applications and offers of admission to prospective new students from overseas slowed between 2006 and 2007. Moreover, the rebound in international applications still has not been large enough to reverse the declines that were reported in the initial Phase II study. This survey report also, for the first time, documents the percentage of American graduate schools that have established science, engineering, and other graduate degree programs with international colleges and universities.

This report first describes the survey methodology used to collect and calculate the changes in applications and admissions data for 2007, and then compares the more recent trends with those from prior years. The third section examines the prevalence of "collaborative" degree programs between American graduate schools and international universities.

A related report released by CGS in April 2007 reviewed the best practices in graduate education in a variety of fields including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The report "Graduate Education: The Backbone of American Competitiveness and Innovation" espoused five key assumptions to undergird a policy network associated with critical issues related to enhancing U.S. competitiveness and innovation. The proposed policy recommendations intended to enhance innovation include: continuing to attract and retain the best and brightest students from around the world; and expanding the participation of domestic students, particularly those from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups into fields that are essential to America's success.

The second part of this paper provides an overview of the April report, including recommendations and policy proposals to address and increase enrollments of international and domestic students in STEM fields.


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Gale Document Number: GALE|A174817782