Applications by international students to U.S. graduate business programs increased 7 percent for classes beginning in the fall of 2006, according to a study by the Council of Graduate Schools.
Last year, applications to business programs were flat. But that was an improvement from between 2003 and 2004, when applications from outside the U.S. were off 24 percent.
Overall, applications by international students to U.S. grad schools rose 11 percent from last year, but still were down 23 percent from 2003.
CGS President Debra W. Stewart attributed the overall rise this year to the government's "considerable progress in reducing delays in visa processing" and the improvement of admissions systems and outreach by graduate schools themselves.
Competition for students is heating up across borders. Two weeks ago, the United Kingdom announced a new immigration policy intended to attract international students and highly-skilled workers. In addition, noted the CGS, the European Union, China, India and other countries are enhancing their educational systems in a bid to attract students from beyond their borders.