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US: International graduate student admission offers up

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), which is the premiere national organisation in the United States dedicated to the advancement of graduate education and research, has released its 2011 figures for international students acceptance into American graduate programmes. The data show that the numbers of such accepted students grew by 11% overall, driven to a significant extent by a 23% increase in acceptances among applicants from China. Applicants from the Middle East and Turkey, as well as India, also showed higher numbers of admission offers over last year, growing by 16% and 8%, respectively. In addition, although registering roughly the same figures as 2010, the 2011 numbers for accepted South Korean applicants reversed a four-year declining trend.

Other details of note:
  • All four geographic regions in the US showed improved acceptance rates in 2011—leading the pack was the West (13%), while the Northeast brought up the rear with an increase of 10%. 
  • All eight broad fields of study covered by the analysis showed improvements in the acceptance rates of international graduate students. The most significant growth occurred in business (16%), while the most modest rate of improvement (3%) was seen in the social sciences and psychology. 
  • Private, not-for profit institutions and public institutions showed roughly the same rates of improvement in terms of admission offers, at 12% and 11%, respectively. However, it is interesting to note that the private institutions received 16% more applications from international graduate students in 2011 than they did in 2010, while the public institutions saw a growth in these applications of just 10%. 
  • Those institutions already awarding larger numbers of graduate degrees to international students registered slightly more robust growth in admission offers than those institutions awarding smaller numbers of graduate degrees to such students.

Based on these figures and past trends, the outlook for the final “yield” of new international graduate students in the United States looks promising. Indeed, since 2005 CGS has found that the “changes in international offers of admission have tracked quite closely with the subsequent changes in international first-time graduate enrollment, typically varying by no more than two or three percentage points”.  Data about the final enrolment figures will be released by CGS in November 2011.

Council of Graduate Schools