Stay or Go Home? International STEM Students in the United States are Up for Grabs after Graduation

50 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2016

See all articles by Xueying Han

Xueying Han

Center for Nanotechnology in Society, University of California, Santa Barbara

Richard Appelbaum

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Date Written: July 14, 2016

Abstract

If current trends continue, international students will comprise half of U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) PhD graduates by 2020.

The proportion of international PhD-level students on temporary visas to study STEM subjects in the United States has doubled over the past thirty years. Further, these students are much more likely than domestic students to major in and graduate with STEM-related doctoral degrees and to pursue careers in high-tech firms. The United States stands to lose its significant investment in these highly qualified students — and their potential contributions to U.S. entrepreneurship and innovation — if they return to their home countries after completing their degrees or post-doctoral work.

We explore why foreign graduate students choose to study in the United States and what compels them to either remain in the country or return home after earning their degrees. We also compare their future plans with those of domestic graduate students.

Keywords: stem, science, technology, engineering, math, mathematics, graduates, phd, visa, immigration, united states

Suggested Citation

Han, Xueying and Appelbaum, Richard, Stay or Go Home? International STEM Students in the United States are Up for Grabs after Graduation (July 14, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2859877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2859877

Xueying Han

Center for Nanotechnology in Society, University of California, Santa Barbara ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Richard Appelbaum (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

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