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The U.S. Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has released data on international student applications to American graduate programs for fall 2010 admission. The numbers—compiled from responses from 240 (or 48%) of CGS’s 505 members—indicate that applications are up 7 percent from 2009. The 2010 figures are consistent with positive growth in application numbers for the last five years, and represent the strongest increase in numbers since the 9 percent expansion registered in 2007. The application numbers from China and the Middle East/Turkey are particularly robust, up 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
CGS has administered its International Graduate Admissions Survey since 2004, and conducts analysis in three distinct phases: applications, preliminary admissions offers, and final offers and actual enrollment. The latest data reflect application activity only. Making enrollment predictions based on application numbers has proven difficult, with CGS noting that there has to-date been “no clear-cut relationship between applications and first-time enrollment.” Factors such as the uncertain global economy, expanded graduate study options in students’ home countries, and increased global competition for internationally-mobile graduate students, all exert important influences on student decision-making and may have a direct impact on the final foreign student yield in U.S. graduate schools for the 2010-2011 academic year.