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Enrollment up in the U.S. for S&E Students

by Ayrea | July 9, 2010 | Newsletters 0 Comments

U.S. Universities Experience an Increase in International Student Enrollment

According to this month’s report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) foreign enrollment in the U.S. went up by 3% from 2008 despite the economic crisis during ‘08/’09.

Foriegn Student Enrollment Growth

Foreign Student Enrollment Growth

New enrollments in science and engineering grew by 4 percent, a larger increase than in recent years, but for the period from 2006 to 2009, science and engineering students accounted for a steady share of the foreign-student population, 44 percent.

The number of foreign students enrolled in non-S&E majors has grown only marginally. Between ‘06 and ‘07 business student enrollment grew by 7.8% and between ‘07 and ‘08 enrollment of these students grew 7.2% while the growth was a mere 2.8% between ‘08 and ‘09. For majors like education and the humanities there were decreases in enrollments.

Most of the S&E students come from India and China. In regards to new student enrollment in all majors the numbers were flat. Yet Asia continues to be the predominant buyer of U.S. higher education accounting for 72.5% of new enrollments coming from world.

With new enrollments flat and declining non-S&E what does the mixed picture signify? There is a slow down in enrollment growth overall and it is predicted to continue over the next few years with the weakened U.S. economy and global economy. With budget woes in U.S. states and state universities (Federal Reserve 2009; Nelson 2010) this expectation is further confirmed.

Universities that manage to increase their investment in S&E programs will weather the near term storm. Further those universities that invest in foreign recruiting efforts will gain the opportunity of future returns. Those institutions that hesitate during these times will find themselves struggling to become relevant to the international market purchasing U.S. higher education.

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