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US: International graduate applications increase after two years of decline

A report released by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has revealed that applications from international students have increased by 11 per cent from 2005 to 2006. This is a positive trend reversal considering that international students applications had been decreasing since 2004. The CGS had reported a 28 per cent decline in applications from international students in 2004 and a five per cent decline in 2005.

In 2006, applications from China and India, the two largest sending countries of international students, increased by 21 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. Applications from Korea and the Middle east also continued to grow (+ three per cent and + four per cent).

The increase is viewed by CGS as a result of sustained efforts by both the federal government and the graduate schools. The government made significant policy changes, like the simplification of the VISA application procedures and introduced more flexibility with VISA deadlines. The graduate schools, on the other hand, have made sustained efforts to improve their admissions systems by increasing their direct recruitment of international students and have grown more aware of major global trends like the Bologna Process and other important competitors like the UK and Australia. Although the 11 per cent increase in 2006 is a very positive result, it is still not considered sufficient to make up for the loss of the previous years, given the magnitude of the decline in 2004 and 2005.

Council of Graduate Schools report