Data indicates potential decline in Chinese graduate student enrollment in Fall’2014

Number of Chinese students applying to graduate schools in the US are likely to decrease for the fall’2014 admissions cycle. In contrast, number of Indian students in graduate programs are expected to increase, as I mentioned in a recent story from the Chronicle of Higher Ed that the recent “increase in GRE-taking in India could be the result of ‘pent-up demand‘.”
A press release by GRE indicates that the volume of GRE test-takers from India increased by more than 70 percent to cross 90,000 (please note, this is test-taker volume by location of test-taker. Previous analysis shows test-taker volume by country of citizenship). However, the press release is silent on China numbers, which had been the growth story for last few years, indicating a decline in GRE test-takers in China, as decline in numbers is not a “story”.
In addition, the press release states that GRE volumes in Asia were up more than 35%. This means there were other markets that did not match up with the same growth as India and pulled down the overall growth for Asia and that declining market is very likely to be China.
GMAC data also indicates decline in Chinese test-takers from 58,196 in 2011-12 to 53,005 in 2012–13, a decline of 9%. This decline is even a stronger indicator of prospective decline of enrollment of Chinese students, as larger proportion of Chinese students enroll in business programs and hence taking GMAT. In contrast, majority of Indian students go for engineering/computer science related programs and hence having stronger predictive power with GRE trends.
Contrasting trend of decline in interest for graduate programs among Chinese students and increase in interest from Indian students is also corroborated by CGS data on applications to US graduate schools. In 2013, number of applications from China declined by 5% as compared to increase by 20% from India.
To sum up, all data points from GRE, CGS and GMAC, indicate a declining interest for the US graduate programs from Chinese students. In contrast, India is set to grow. These trends will become more apparent with the upcoming CGS report on applications to US graduate schools in April 2014.
Related reading:
GRE data on China and India: trends and implications for international graduate admissions pipeline
Dr. Rahul Choudaha