US International Grad Applications Rise, Increase Led By India


An annual report on US preliminary international graduate applications has revealed that a total of 192,000 applications this year are coming from India, marking a 12% increase from last year. The total of 676,484 graduate applications show a 2% increase from last year with India being the main force behind the boost.

 “Students from India have a reputation for being very savvy shoppers when it comes to higher education,” Jeff Allum, director of research and policy analysis at the Council of Graduate Schools said. “Right now, the U.S. is a very strong market and a very good value for them.”

The academic year of 2014-2015 is the third consecutive year that India orbits on a double-digit growth in grad study applications, says the Council of Graduate Schools.

India is the second largest grad student provider to the U.S. behind China, who for a third year is showing a drop. The 64,406 applications from China mark a 2% drop from last year. Still, China provides 39 percent of all international graduate applications.

Suzanne T. Ortega, CGS president, says that despite some challenges faced by India, young people want to strengthen their academic and professional credentials, and that often leads to the pursuit of a US degree.

Non-American applicants are largely preferring STEM related degrees with the most popular field being engineering. International application for US grad degrees in engineering rose by 4 percent, iSchoolGuide reports.

Business grad programs, the second most popular field of study for international students, are seeing a 2 percent drop this year. At the same time, mathematics and computer science have seen a 14 percent rise, the report reveals. As the says, 50 percent of all international applications are for STEM graduate programs.

For Ellie Bothwell of the TimesHigherEducation, STEM popularity and the increase in number of Indian graduate program applications explains the increase in overall international applications.

Transnational students, or learners taking overseas courses while living in their own country, offer students the opportunity to study at postgraduate level more efficiently, which might explain the growing trend of international students choosing to pursue overseas graduate programs.

A HEFCE study in the UK revealed that 65% of Chinese transnational students progress to postgrad study within four years as opposed to 45% of non-transnational Chinese students. The study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England shows a tendency that “transnational pathways are increasingly being used by students seeking postgraduate education,”, Times Higher Ed reports.

The Council of Graduate Schools report collected data from 377 schools. The preliminary report will be followed by a final profile once the application cycle in all institutions is complete.