Growth Rate Lags Again in Graduate Schools’ International Admissions [Chronicle of Higher Ed]

By Eugene McCormack, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The number of foreign students admitted to graduate schools at American colleges and universities grew in 2008 for the fourth straight year, but the rate of increase over the previous year declined for the third consecutive year, according to survey results released today by the Council of Graduate Schools.

Based on previous years’ data, this year’s 4-percent increase will mean only a small gain in first-time enrollments for the fall, Kenneth E. Redd, the council’s director of research and policy analysis and author of a report on the results, said in an interview.

Admissions offers to students from China, India, and South Korea, the three nations that together account for nearly half of all foreign graduate students in the United States, all reflected a slowing trend in 2008. For students from China, the rate of growth in such offers slowed from 24 percent to 16 percent, and for those from India, it fell from 17 percent to 2 percent. Offers to students from South Korea, which had declined last year by 2 percent, lagged even further this year, posting a 3-percent drop.

Mr. Redd said the slowdown in those three countries can largely be attributed to their own efforts to increase graduate enrollments at home.

“South Korea has embarked on a pretty ambitious campaign to increase enrollments of both its own graduate students and of prospective international students,” he said. “They’ve put in roughly a billion dollars to programs and financial support for international students, and now we’re seeing greater competition for those students.”

This year’s overall increase in foreign admissions follows growth rates of 8 percent last year and 12 percent in 2006. [Click here to read full story. Subscription only.]