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Every year hundreds of thousands of students from around the world travel to the United States to complete graduate research. Many stay on, pursuing careers in science. But there are growing concerns that post-9/11 immigration policies are discouraging applications from foreign students to US universities.

In this article, Jeffrey Mervis reports that demand for places remains high, especially among students from China and India. Only one in 50 applicants are offered admission, and just half of those enrol. And evidence suggests that students are not being lured to Australia instead of the United States.

Visa restrictions do create more obstacles today than they did a decade ago, however. But funding problems and a lack of job prospects in the United States after graduation also influence numbers of foreign postgraduates. And US universities appear confident that despite declining applications, the overall quality of foreign students who do come remains high.

Link to full feature in Science

Reference: Science 304, 1278 (2004)