One of America’s biggest “export” industries is declining

U.S. graduate schools this year saw a 28% decline in applications from international students and an 18% drop in admissions, a finding that some experts say threatens higher education’s ability to maintain its reputation for offering high-quality programs.

The sharp declines, based on responses from 126 institutions, were reported in a study released Tuesday by the Council of Graduate Schools, a Washington-based nonprofit. About 88% of those schools reported a decline in international applications; 12% saw an increase.

Several factors contribute to the drops, council president Debra Stewart says. Those include changes to the visa application process after 9/11, a perception that the USA has grown less welcoming of foreigners and increased competition from universities abroad.

Applications from China show an especially steep drop, about 45%. Here is the full story. Will either Bush or Kerry come out for streamlined immigration procedures in this arena, or at least a greater allocation of resources toward speeding these visa applications? If we are devoted to the idea of nation-building abroad, what better way to start?


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