Chinese applications decline at US grad schools

Updated: 2013-08-16 11:24

(China Daily)

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Chinese students are coming to the United States in record numbers, but not to American graduate schools.

After seven consecutive years of double-digit increases, the number of Chinese applications to graduate programs this spring fell an unexpected 5 percent, according to a survey released in April by the Council of Graduate Schools, an organization of more than 500 institutions of higher education in the US and Canada.

The council attributed the decline in Chinese students to visa difficulties and competition from other foreign students.

"Falling applications from China is credit negative for many US universities because Chinese students account for approximately one- third of international graduate enrollments, and they tend to pay higher net tuition than domestic students," Moody's Investors Service said.

Moody's said it did not expect the fall-off in overseas graduate applications to materially affect US universities in the short term.

Overall, international graduate applications to US graduate school programs rose by just 1 percent after a 9 percent increase last year and 11 percent gain in 2011, according to the council's report.

Debra W. Stewart, president of the council called the decline in Chinese applications "disturbing", according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a Washington-based newspaper and website that covers the US academic world.

"This is a post-9/11 kind of drop," Ms. Stewart said, referring to the steep declines in international students following the 2001 terrorist attacks in the US.

Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor of the International Institute of Education, said the declining number of applications from China "could mean that students are just applying to fewer schools, or that they are not applying as much to schools they wouldn't get into, or that more are staying home or studying in Hong Kong, and I'm betting it's a combination of all three factors".

"Students have more options and better advising than they used to. I'd be surprised if the final number of enrollments is down anywhere near as much as the applications," said Blumenthal of New York-based IIE, a non-profit organization that promotes international exchange of education and training.

While applications from Chinese students were down, applications from India, which sends the second largest number of students to the US, increased by 20 percent.

Applications from Brazil also increased, while the number applying from Canada, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan declined.Applications for the three most popular fields of study - engineering, physical and earth sciences, and business - increased this year, while there was declining interest in studying education or life sciences.

Chinese applications decline at US grad schools

(China Daily USA 08/16/2013 page20)