A heartbreaking drop, sure to continue

The latest in a string of heartache delivered via electronic newsletter comes by way of the American Society for Engineering Education’s Capitol Shorts which reports:

DROP IN FOREIGN GRAD STUDENTS:new report from the Council of Graduate Schools shows a 3.7 percent drop from fall 2016 to fall 2017 in first-time international graduate enrollments in U.S. institutions. According to Inside Higher Ed: “Engineering enrollments fell by 3.8 percent year over year, compared to just about 1 percent the year prior. Engineering applications fell 7.3 percent last year.” Hironao Okahana, the Council’s associate vice president for research and policy analysis, “attributed some of this change to the decrease in international students.” Suzanne Ortega, council president, called the emerging trend “worrisome.” IHE reports that it’s hard for the Council “not to think of the Trump administration’s stance on immigration” as a contributing factor.

Underlined and bolded emphasis added. You know, to lay it on thick. This is indeed not the way foreign enrollment into and/or application to advanced educational programs should be going for a burgeoning nation. Nor is it the pace one should want to see it decay way.

Of course such declines must be contextualized in the overall dip in graduate education. The twin trends of a generally-hiring job market and hybrid five-year programs folding in related coursework has led to recent uptick in the “terminating Master’s” student while overall graduate enrollment (and especially “long term”/Ph.D.-level stuff) has dipped.

Part of just one of those waves in these things or the sign of larger things to come? Let us just keep our eye towards this horizon until we’re sure.