For First Time in 5 Years, Incoming Foreign Enrollment in U.S. Grad Schools Fails to Increase

A new report released by the Council of Graduate Schools has found that the number of incoming international students at the post-secondary level in the United States is the same this year as last. This is the first year since 2004 that the number has not increased. In 2003-2004, the numbers dropped by 6%.

The report is the culmination of an annual admissions survey conducted by the CGS, which also found that the overall number of enrolled international students is 2% higher this year than last. While this may seem like good news, the number is markedly lower than the past two years and the lack of growth this year among incoming international students indicates an even steeper decline over at least the next to years. In fact, the 2% is a bit of a false indicator: it is only an increase because the number of international students who completed their programs last year is offset by the number of incoming students in the years immediately prior.

Though the overall number of incoming students this year remained flat, specific sending countries and regions changed. Notable, India, South Korea, Turkey and the Middle East all experienced a decline. These numbers were buoyed by a significant increase in graduate students from China. Several hard-to-discern factors affected these numbers, among them the economic pendulum that has been swinging across the globe over the past year and its effect on currency rates, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. (This article is also recommended for a more in depth analysis of the CGS report.)

257 institutions responded to the CGS survey, with a response rate of 51%.

Over the past year, 44 A.C.E. Language Institute students have transferred into one of our host institutions–either Montana State University of Seattle Pacific University–many of them for graduate programs in everything from Business Administration to Engineering to Nursing. This successful rate of transfer is due largely in part to the academic nature of our English instruction, as well as our conditional acceptance agreements with the host institutions. These agreements allow completion of our English language program to substitute for an acceptable TOEFL score. Learn more by visiting

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