US sees dramatic surge in graduate applications from India

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : Applications from prospective Indian students to US graduate schools surged dramatically while those from China slowed down a bit in 2013, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS).

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A 32 percent increase in applications from India, which accounts for 18 percent of all international graduate students at US institutions offset a one percent decline in applications from China, from where one third of the students come.

Thus the preliminary number of applications from prospective international students to US graduate schools increased 7 percent in 2014, up from the 2 percent increase seen in 2013, according to the CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey.

This year’s encouraging increase is more consistent with the growth trend in international graduate applications seen between 2006 and 2012, after a post-9/11 decrease said the survey.

China, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Canada are the top five countries of origin for international graduate students in the United States, the report said. The survey covers in detail seven countries – China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil) and three regions -the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Altogether, the seven countries and three regions highlighted in the CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey are home countries to about 86 percent of all international graduate students in the US.

CGS President Debra W. Stewart noted the 7 percent gain is a positive sign for US graduate institutions, which collectively draw 15 percent of their overall graduate enrolments from international students.

“Yet this year’s increase is not necessarily a sign of ongoing stability in international graduate applications and enrolments,” she said, “especially since a large share of the growth appears to be driven by a single country” – namely India.

“Historically, our ability to recruit the best and brightest international graduate students has enabled the US to become a leader in ground-breaking research and innovations,” she said.

“International students stimulate the US economy and research enterprise in many important ways, and we must develop policies that encourage strong, stable growth in international graduate applications and enrolments,” Stewart said.

Preliminary increases in applications varied by broad field, the report said. The three most popular fields of study-engineering, physical and earth sciences, and business-together account for 64 percent of all international students enrolled in US graduate programmes

They were also the fastest growing, at 14 percent, 16 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. Gains in applications were also found in 2014 in arts and humanities (3 percent) and other fields (2 percent).

Rates of international applications to social sciences and psychology programmes were unchanged from the prior year.

Applications in education declined 1 percent and life sciences fell, 6 percent.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])