2009 Grad Students Statistics Out
As reported by Inside Higher Ed, new grad school statistics show interesting information for this year’s graduate school candidates. Inside Higher Ed explains that for the first time in four years, the percentage of International Graduate Students entering graduate programs has not increased but flatted out. Every year for four years, this statistic grew, which meant that more international grad school students were initiating their studies. However, in the academic year of 2009, this was not the case, having on average a 0% change in the amount of internationals entering U.S. advance degree programs.
What does this mean for international students? At this point, we need to be aware of what will be next year’s statistics to understand if this is a trend or just a product of the worldwide recessionary times we endure. International students might be able to use this as an advantage, positioning themselves strongly to secure admission to top grad school programs.
One reason why this international student percentage could not have grown this year, as expressed by Inside Higher Ed and The Economic Times of India, is the decrease in financial aid support by U.S. higher education institutions. As schools become more conservative in recessionary times, and their fund availability decreases, one of the first budget cuts is financial aid for international students. This, in turn, cuts opportunities for students that could have earned merit scholarships at a previous time, but without them, cannot fund their own education.
How do we interpret this? In order for an international student to secure admission to a program, these days it is wiser to seek financial backing through sources other than the school providing the ticket in. As higher education institutions struggle to survive these times, international students benefit from becoming as independent as possible from financial backing provided by universities. Although not many resources are available to international students, banks such as Citibank provide options to international students seeking loans. Other banking institutions offer different loan programs but with a caveat – a U.S. loan co-signor. Another alternative for outstanding students is applying to earn a Fulbright scholarship. This program allows you to study in the U.S. and achieve either a loan with preferential rates or a scholarship (depending on academic performance). However, it has the condition for the student to agree to return to their country of origin. This scholarship provides a great opportunity for a deserving student.
On the same token, the new statistics show other interesting data that accurately reflects what is happening today. There was an average 6% growth in 2009 for U.S. students entering grad school programs. However, when surveying only institutions with growing U.S. student enrollment, the percentage shown was even higher, at 11%. This probably also reflects what is happening in the economy. The growth most surely means that more professionals seek to expand their horizons by undertaking a new advanced degree to differentiate themselves in the workforce. The strategy of pursuing higher education can prove useful when looking for jobs, as new graduates provide great added value to society, with updated industry information, and also having followed rigorous programs that provides them with new ways to conduct problem solving. The effect of education can also be felt in the level of energy a new graduate bring to a company when re-entering the workforce. A new perspective and new thought process can bring great added value to a corporation seeking higher grounds.
By Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan