Results from the latest survey show that the number of graduate applications received by US universities, and the number of overseas students actually accepted increased significantly in the autumn of 2006. This is the first time international student enrollment in US universities has grown in the last three years. There were 20 percent more Chinese applicants and admissions this year, the highest growth rate across all regions. The number of Chinese students applying to US undergraduate programs is also growing, but enrolment figures are unchanged. Comparatively speaking, US universities are now showing a greater interest in Chinese graduate students.
Number of international students studying in US growing
In 2004, many US universities petitioned the US government, asking that they relax visa requirements for Chinese student to attract more Chinese students and promote educational exchanges. Following this petition the US government did adjust its visa policy and held several press conferences, stressing that both US officials and universities welcome Chinese students. The rate of visa approval has reached a record high in the last few decades. US press releases and adjustments to policy have, to a certain extent, helped eliminate the worries of Chinese students applying for a US visa, triggering a tide of new applications.
It is believed that the US has relaxed its visa policy in recognition of Chinese students' high level of core knowledge and conscientious attitude to study, which have been highly commended by US universities. Many US universities welcome Chinese students, most of who are among the top tier in their undergraduate programs and play an important role in research. The development of educational globalization and Sino-US educational exchanges were heavily affect by the limited number of visas made available to Chinese students. Moreover, it also represented a missed opportunity for research work in US universities.
US universities favor graduate students
According to experts on overseas study, US undergraduate programs require a high level of language proficiency and are very expensive. US undergraduate programs take four years to complete (not including preparatory courses) and financial aid is limited. Students who miss out on a scholarship and do not have sufficient means to pay their way through college, cannot attend college. Furthermore, many Chinese high school graduates need to have a better grasp of English before they can undertake the coursework necessary for an undergraduate degree. Many of them cannot communicate with visa officers freely and fluently during the necessary visa interview. If the visa officer determines that the student is not yet competent enough in English to live and study in the US, the visa application will be rejected.
The length of graduate programs is usually only 1 or 2 years so the cost is not as high. Graduate students can help their supervisors with research projects and enjoy a bigger pool of graduate scholarships. Most graduate program candidates have TOEFL and GRE grade and a high level of English. Compared to undergraduate students, graduate students are likely to bring the US greater returns. Therefore, the number of visas issued to postgraduate students has increased somewhat.
By People's Daily Online