Canadian Consulting Engineer

U.S. worried about decline in international engineering student applications

November 22, 2004
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

An article in dated November 22 reported that universities in the United States are becoming concerned a...

An article in dated November 22 reported that universities in the United States are becoming concerned about dropping enrolment by international students in their graduate science and engineering courses. Several studies have found that enrolments from overseas are down for the second or third year in a row. At the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, for example, international student enrolment is down 11 per cent compared to last year, and at the University of Maryland, the applications are down by a third.
Alarm bells are going off because in some universities international students have made up to one-half of the engineering graduate classes.
It is feared that the U.S. may be losing its attraction for the brightest and best from around the world, and that this could have a long-term effect upon the country’s interests. The president of the University of Maryland, Dan Mote, is quoted in the article: “It’s not hyperbole to say that our country has been built by the international scientists and engineers who have come here in the past 50 years.”
The tightening up of visa approvals and other 9/11 security measures are held to be partly responsible for making international students cool to the land of opportunity. But also the U.S. is facing fiercer competition. Other countries such as Australia and China are aggressively recruiting top students in much higher numbers than before.
Besides the potential impact on America’s technological prowess, a shrinking international enrolment could have a long-term effect upon U.S. diplomacy. Many political leaders around the globe have been educated on U.S. campuses, said the article, and this has helped to lay a foundation for good international relations.


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