The Wall Street Journal reports on yet another thing we need to worry about in the medium to long-term:
The council, which represents more than 500 higher-education institutions in the U.S. and Canada, said foreigners' applications for 2009 graduate-school admissions rose 4% from the year before. That compares with increases of 6% in 2008, 9% in 2007 and 12% in 2006. Foreigners' applications to doctoral programs rose 5%, but declined 17% for master's degrees."
Reasons for these trends include:
"The mixed results point to a meeting of new realities in the global economy: On the one hand, some countries have improved their educational systems to keep students closer to home or woo those from other countries who might have otherwise chosen the U.S. On the other, the global recession -- and some signs of resistance to employing immigrants in the U.S. -- means U.S. tuitions are increasingly out of reach for some, while others fear jobs won't be waiting for them upon graduation."
Why should we worry about this?
"Historically, U.S. graduate schools were the graduate schools for the world," said council president Debra W. Stewart. "Now, we cannot simply assume it's going to be a matter of turning on the spigot and the most talented people in the world will flow in." She and others in higher education say it is too soon to know the true effects of the financial crisis on higher education until enrollment numbers are available..."
"Other countries, such as the U.K., Australia and Canada, have enacted policies that make it easier for students to go from the classroom to the workplace without reapplying for a visa, said Ursula Oaks, a spokeswoman for the Association of International Educators. Meanwhile, amid a high unemployment rate, some U.S. government agencies and recent legislation are discouraging recruitment of foreign workers."
Just like the U.S. reigned supreme globally in automobiles a few decades ago, we currently do the same in higher education. But given the secular demographic and economic changes globally, we're going to actually have to compete in this arena going forward.
Our politicians really need to understand the long-term implications and importance of these trends for our economic well-being.