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Offers of Admission to International Graduate Students Decline

September 22, 2009

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) reports that offers of admission to prospective international students fell by 3 percent from fall 2008 to fall 2009. This is the first decline in offers of admission since 2004. Furthermore, although the number of prospective international students applying to U.S. graduate schools increased 4 percent between 2008 and 2009, the rate of increase continued to slow for the third consecutive year.

The results of the 2009 CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey, Phase II: Final Applications and Initial Offers of Admission show that offers of admission to prospective graduate students from India and South Korea fell 16 percent for each country in 2009. At the same time, offers to prospective students from China registered a fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, with an increase of 13 percent. Admissions offers to prospective students from the Middle East & Turkey increased 10 percent in 2009, following a 13 percent gain in 2008.

This year's increase in international graduate applications was driven in part by double-digit growth in applications from China (up 14%) and the Middle East & Turkey (up 22%). However, applications from prospective students from both India and South Korea fell in 2009, with declines of 12 percent and 9 percent, respectively. In addition, this year's rebound in total international applications was not large enough to reverse the declines that many institutions reported in the first CGS international applications and admissions survey conducted in 2004. The total number of international applications received in 2009 remains 5 percent below 2003 levels.

"The decline in admissions of international students this year, after several years of slowing growth, is a concern for U.S. graduate education," said Debra W. Stewart, CGS President. "It is clear from the data that institutions were more likely to have increases in applications from, and offers of admission to, U.S. citizens and permanent residents than prospective international students."

The full report is available from CGS.