In DepthU.S. HIGHER EDUCATION

Drop in foreign applicants worries engineering schools

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Science  17 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6326, pp. 676-677
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6326.676

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Summary

Amid the uncertainty over U.S. immigration policy, one fact is sending a chill through U.S. higher education: Some U.S. graduate programs in engineering, Science has learned, are seeing a sharp drop this year in the number of applications from international students. University administrators worry that the declines, as much as 30% from 2016 levels in some programs, reflect heightened fears among foreign-born students that the United States is tightening its borders. Given the timing, the officials suspect the cause is President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric during the campaign and his election, rather than the White House's 27 January travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries, which is now in legal limbo. A continued downturn, officials say, could threaten U.S. global leadership in science and engineering by shrinking the pool of talent available to carry out academic research. It could also hinder innovation in industry, given that most foreign-born engineering students take jobs with U.S. companies after graduation.

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