Foreign Applications Fall Again

Survey finds a 5 percent drop in those seeking a graduate education, following a 28 percent decline last year.
March 9, 2005

Applications from foreign students to American graduate schools decreased by 5 percent this year, according to a survey being released today by the Council of Graduate Schools.

That decline follows a decrease last year of 28 percent. The figures are based on an article by the Associated Press, which received an early copy of the report.

The declines in applications follow the tightening of visa rules after 9/11. Many colleges say that it has become much more difficult to recruit foreign students because so many would-be students end up having their visas denied. In addition, countries like Australia, Canada and many nations in Europe have become more attractive to foreign students who do not want to deal with the U.S. visa process.

It is still too early in the admissions cycle to know if the application decline will lead to an enrollment decline, as colleges could always admit a larger percentage of students to keep enrollment at current levels.

According to the AP report, applications from the two countries that send the most foreign students to graduate schools in the United States -- China and India -- are down 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Bush administration officials have been saying in recent months that most of the problems with the visa system have been fixed. Many college officials, while agreeing that there have been improvements, say that serious problems remain.


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