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Foreign Applications to Graduate Schools Increase, Remain Below Previous Levels

May 1, 2007

Foreign applications to U.S. graduate schools climbed 8 percent for the 2006-07 school year, following a 12 percent gain reported in the previous year, according to an annual survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). However, foreign applications are still down 27 percent since 2003 as a result of dramatic declines in 2004 and 2005. 

Highlights of the study include the following:

  • Applications from China rose 17 percent, similar to last year’s 19 percent gain. Applications from India grew just 6 percent, following a 26 percent increase last year.

  • Since the study’s inception in 2003, applications from the Middle East have increased every year, rising 9 percent in 2006-07.

  • By field of study, the largest growth in foreign applications came in life sciences and humanities, with gains of 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

  • Foreign applications rose 13 percent at the 10 institutions with the largest international populations, compared with a 5 percent gain at institutions with international graduate enrollments below those of the top 50 institutions hosting the greatest number of foreign students. 

The CGS survey research has three phases: the application phase, the admissions phase, and the enrollment phase. For more information on this survey effort, visit the CGS Web site

CGS also recently released a related report calling for a renewed commitment to American graduate education. The report, Graduate Education: The Backbone of American Competitiveness and Innovation, calls for increased collaboration among government, higher education, and the business community "to expand and replenish the academic pipeline in the U.S." by increasing their support for graduate education.  

For more information on research about graduate students, refer to the Faculty, Staff, and Student Demographic research resource page on the NACUBO Web site.