- Data from the Council of Graduate Schools’ International Graduate Admissions Survey reported that participating US graduate programs received 852,006 applications.
- International graduate applications rose by 12% between the Fall of 2020 and 2021
- Indian students saw a surge in first-time enrolment for international graduate programs.
We’ve all seen how the COVID-19 pandemic, which began more than two years ago, resulted in health and safety measures and visa restrictions. Now that such measures and restrictions have all been relaxed in many parts of the globe, we now see the number of foreign graduate students entering major study destinations increasing.
In the United States, the numbers have also gone up, although not the way everyone hoped for just yet. Still, there are reasons to be optimistic.
According to the Spring 2022 Snapshot on International Educational Exchange, 65% of the 559 higher education institutions in the United States report a rise in the number of applicants from abroad for the 2022–2023 academic year across all institutional types, up from 43% a year earlier.
Higher Education Institutions in the U.S. are also expressing optimism as a new academic year begins, citing an increase in applications for the 2022–2023 academic year as the number of international students recovers.
According to the Council of Graduate Schools’ International Graduate Admissions Survey, participating U.S. graduate programs received a total of 852,006 applications from potential international students and made 286,619 admissions offers to them. Some 101,371 first-time foreign graduate students were accepted from among the international graduate applicants who applied in the Autumn of 2021.
Additionally, this indicates exceptional growth for the third consecutive year. Between Fall 2020 and Fall 2021, the number of international graduate applications climbed by 12%, which is significantly higher than in prior admission cycles and marks the third year in a row that the number of applications has increased.
Applications and first-time enrollment from India skyrocket
First-time enrollment is on the rise, irrespective of the nation, area of origin, subject area, or degree goal. The proportion of students enrolling in graduate programs with U.S. campuses for the first time rose by 92% between Fall 2020 and Fall 2021. This contrasts with the 39% reduction in first-time foreign graduate enrollment between Fall 2019 and Fall 2020.
The two countries that continue to send the most international graduate students to the United States are China and India which account for 64% of 852,006 international graduate applications.
For the first time in the Fall of 2021, the pace of growth of applications from India exceeded the rate of growth of applications from China. This was due to a 16% drop in graduate applications from Chinese nationals while applications from Indian citizens grew by 36% between Fall 2020 and Fall 2021.
Similar to this, Indian nationals saw a 430% surge in first-time enrolment. Many Indian students are submitting applications to programs for master’s and certificates are expanding far faster than applications for doctoral degrees. I wrote an article that explains why Indian international students are growing in number. Check it out here.
An expected growth
The increase in the number of Indian students pursuing their education abroad is not surprising at all. In 2019 alone, around 586,337 Indian students flew abroad, while in 2020, only 259,655 Indian students went abroad, mainly because of pandemic-related travel restrictions. In 2021, the number went up to 444,553, mainly due to the opening of borders in many countries.
And despite the rupee’s decline in value versus the dollar, Indian students’ aspirations for an American education did not change. Indian students continue to choose the United States as their preferred study-abroad destination.
We can also concur with MSM CEO and Founder Sanjay Laul’s observations that, in addition to the academic opportunities offered by the United States, Indian students choose to study in the United States and even other key countries to enjoy a higher quality of life both during and after their studies. (SUNEETHA QURESHI)
Suneetha has worked for 15 years in the international education sector and 25 years overall for her work for other industries. As president of MSM, she fortifies its business development outreach globally, particularly in the face of MSM’s foray into edtech-based recruitment via MSM Unify. She preserves the premium, value-adding services provided to each MSM partner institute, including dedicated teams on the ground, agent management, lead generation and inquiry management, application prescreening, and student and parent support through pioneering pre-departure briefing sessions.
She has an impeccable track record of successfully launching the representative offices in Asia and Africa of many North American and European higher education institutions. Her key strengths include hiring, training, and developing teams as evidenced by the successful results of the dedicated in-country college and university client teams.
Suneetha also has taken the lead in developing several initiatives at MSM, including building robust standard operating procedures, the Rise ‘n Shine team engagement platform, and the organization’s data analytics and audit segments.