WENR, October 2017: Americas

U.S.: STEM Programs Need International Students to Remain Competitive

If the U.S. wants to maintain it’s reputation for being a leader in technology and innovation, it must maintain a welcoming environment for international students, according to a new study by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). International students have buoyed STEM programs at U.S. universities; between 1995 and 2015 their numbers rose over 480% from 7,883 to 45,790, compared to a 45% increase among American students (from 8,627 to 12,539). In order to continually uphold the quality and prestige of U.S. STEM programs and their ability to attract top talent, the NFAP report advises maintaining the Obama-era OPT 24-month extension and increasing the amount of H-1B visas. Unfortunately, the Trump administration plans to severely limit both incentives for international students–one of many isolationist policies that will likely damage the nation’s higher education reputation globally.

University World News [1]
October 14

U.S.: International Enrollments at Graduate Schools Down For First Time Since 2003

First time international enrollments at U.S. graduate schools fell .9% between fall of 2015 and fall of 2106 according to a survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Board . Though a modest decline, it contrasts sharply with the year over year average  increase of 7.4%  between 2006 and 2016 and is the first drop since 2003. The report’s authors pointed to several factors for the decline including a decrease among Indian and Chinese applicants, a growing interest in Canadian post-graduate programs, and anecdotally to the unsustainability of continued growth.

ICEF Monitor
October 3

Jamaica: New Partnership to Address Engineer Shortage

Faced with a shortage of engineers, three of Jamaica’s top universities, University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Technology (UTech) and the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) are partnering to providing training for 1,000 future engineers annually. The influx of new companies to Jamaica has highlighted the skills gap; more engineers are need to maintain the infrastructure on the island. About 10 percent of the engineering students in the program will receive funding from New Fortress Energy, which plans to introduce liquefied natural gas to Jamaica. In turn UWI will train engineers from New Fortress Energy to ensure a smooth transition to the new source of energy.

The Gleaner [2]
October 1

Canada: MBA Programs See Surge in Interest from International Students

Canadian business schools reported a 77 percent increase in the number of MBA program applicants this year, while the U.S. saw a 32 percent rise, according to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council. While higher education professionals often point to the political climate in the U.S. as the genesis for this trend, other factors such as tuition cost, immigration policy, and a strong focus on international student recruitment in light of declining birth rates in eastern Canada, are cited. For insight into the challenges that U.S. MBA programs face, refer to this month’s Article Business Education at a Crossroads: How Can U.S. Programs Respond to Declining Demand?

The Globe and Mail
September 27