The Council of Graduate Studies (CGS) monitored offers made to students (as opposed to confirmed enrolments) at 214 institutions between fall 2011 and 2012, finding 2012 to be the third consecutive year of growth for the US graduate sector.
It was also the seventh year of double-digit growth for offers to Chinese students, which were up by 20%. Offers to Middle Eastern students grew 17% and Brazilians by 13%, which owed much to their increased investments in scholarship programmes, as well as US institutions working to forge relationships with their foreign counterparts.
“Government scholarships for US study for students from these countries not only increase enrolments directly, but also tend to have a ripple effect in inspiring other non-scholarship students to apply to universities in the United States,” Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice president, research and evaluation at the Institute for International Education (IIE) told The PIE News.
“We must continue our efforts to attract students from countries where numbers of student applicants are slowing”
The flat numbers from India, America’s second strongest source market, are likely due to increasing higher education and employment opportunities back home and the devaluation of the India rupee against the dollar this year. Although South Korean offers remained horizontal it followed five consecutive years of decline, according to the report.
Debra Stewart, CGS president, said US graduate programs and institutions still enjoyed “a world-class reputation” but future growth could not be taken for granted.
“Given the current global economy and increasing global competition for talent, we must continue our efforts to attract students from countries where numbers of student applicants are slowing, as well as those such as Brazil and China, where there is renewed momentum to pursue graduate study in the US,” she said.
“Offers of admission may provide an early indication of trends but total enrolment may vary”
Larger US institutions led growth figures with the top 10 largest institutions in the country reporting an average rise in offers of 16%, compared with 10% for those in the top 100 and 6% outside the top 100. Increases also occurred in all subject fields, with the exception of life sciences, with the largest seen in business and education which was up 17%.
Bhandari cautioned that offers did not equate to enrolments and the picture could still change. “While the number of graduate students from each country who are given offers of admission by US graduate schools may provide an early indication of trends from that particular country, the total enrolment from each country may vary.”