New NSF data say foreign graduate enrollment in science and engineering continues to rise

Press Release 14-070
New NSF data say foreign graduate enrollment in science and engineering continues to rise

Overall graduate enrollment remains flat

International flags.

NSF data show enrollment trends in graduate S&E education.
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May 22, 2014

The number of citizens and permanent residents enrolled in science and engineering (S&E) graduate programs in the United States declined in 2012, while the number of foreign students studying on temporary visas increased, according to new data from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The 1.7 percent drop in U.S. citizens and permanent residents was countered by a 4.3 percent increase in enrollment of foreign S&E graduate students on temporary visas. Overall growth of S&E graduate student enrollment stalled for the second year in a row in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, after experiencing annual increases of 2 to 3 percent from 2005 to 2010. S&E graduate enrollment grew by less than 1 percent in 2011 and 2012.

These and other findings are from the fall 2012 Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering, cosponsored by the NSF and the National Institutes of Health. For more information, see the Survey of State Government Research and Development: FYs 2010 and 2011.

Please visit the NSF’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics for more reports and other products.


Media Contacts
Kimberly D. Osborne, NSF, (703) 292-2298,

Program Contacts
Kelly H. Kang, NSF, (703) 292-7796,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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