By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine

Postgraduate study abroad has been on my news horizon this week, particularly with the release of the latest US enrolment figures from the Council of Graduate Schools.

A ten per cent growth in first-time international enrolments was largely bolstered by a startling 40 per cent increase from India. The rise was all the more spectacular when set against the increases in the previous two years: one and two per cent respectively.

CGS President Debra. W Stewart wisely cautioned against drawing too many conclusions about long-term trends, given the previous volatility in Indian enrolments, but a recent British Council report on global trends in higher education up to 2024 suggested that India would be the fastest growing source market for globally mobile tertiary students between now and then.

The report predicted that the USA and the UK would be the main beneficiaries of this increase. However, it is clear that US policies are currently positioning the country more favourably in the Indian market at this critical juncture.

The prospect of green cards for international postgraduate students in the STEM subjects – a bill currently being debated in the US but thought to have broad political support – is clearly an attraction for Indian students. Today’s news story reports that the UK Home Office has dropped a deposit bond scheme that was planned to target Indian visitors, but also touches upon the level of decline from India since the removal of post-study work rights. A recent Times Higher Education survey found postgraduate applications from India down by eight per cent on average across the 18 UK institutions profiled, but as much as 41 per cent in one case.

I came across an interesting initiative in Michigan recently, which highlighted the need to retain international graduates in this field. According to a report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, foreign-born citizens constituted only six per cent of the population in Michigan, but launched one-third of the high-tech firms created in the past decade.

“These talented people are innovators and risk takers and, ultimately, job creators who can help our state and national economies grow and prosper,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Countries with more welcoming visa regimes are likely to be the successful ones in attracting this in-demand cohort.

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