Enrollment in college may be dropping for the first time in U.S. history, but that hasn’t stopped eager foreigners from flocking to the United States for graduate studies.
Data released Wednesday by the Council for Graduate Studies indicates that in 2014, foreigners coming to the U.S. to obtain a graduate degree surged by an additional eight percent, even as domestic enrollment stagnated.
Driving the rise is a huge increase in the number of students coming to the country from India. Enrollments from the world’s second-largest country soared by 27 percent in the past year alone, building on a 40 percent gain in 2013. The rapidly-rising contingents from the subcontinent are picking up the slack for China and South Korea, which saw decreases of one and seven percent, respectively, in the number of first-time graduate students coming to the United States. Combined, China, India and South Korea constitute half of all foreign graduate students in the U.S.
Also surging is the number of students arriving from Brazil. Their total nearly doubled with a 91 percent increase in first-time graduate enrollments, a huge increase for a single year. The Middle East as a whole saw its new student count rise a modest 8 percent, continuing a pattern of steady gains from the region in recent years
Most of these immigrants continue to head into technical fields like computer science and engineering. While the fields of humanities, education and social science all saw minimal student growth or even declines, the number of international engineering students surged by 11 percent. In the field of physical sciences (which includes mathematics and computer science as well as physics and chemistry), growth was tremendous at 20 percent.
There are now about 236,000 foreign graduate students in the U.S., but even that number is dwarfed by the 800,000 foreign undergraduates in U.S. schools. However, those undergraduates are only 4 percent of America’s undergraduate population, while foreigners make up 17 percent of all graduate students.
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