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The Institute of International Education, which publishes annual reports on international students, has found that U.S. schools are prioritizing students from India over China, especially for graduate programs. However, it also found that 36% of schools reported increases in new Chinese students in fall 2023.

How does this work in practice? Are US schools actively discriminating based on national origin, or are they doing something else like dispatch staff for outreach events in India?

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    Possibly not directly related to this current phenomenon (with which I'm unacquainted), but, at least for Teaching Assistant positions (in Math, for example), the general English fluency of students from India has been better than that of students from PRC, for some years. (I witnessed this as Dir Grad Studies in math in two different episodes.) Anecdotally-statistically, the PRC students' English has improved in the last few decades. I think English fluency is also relevant to discussion with one's advisor, to talk about nuances. E.g., math is not just symbols. :) Commented Mar 18 at 1:18

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It is unclear which statements by The Institute of International Education this refers to, but the IIE Fall 2023 Snapshot on International Student Enrollment report (which contains that 36% figure) focuses on outreach activities:

Among all places of origin, India continues to be the highest priority for undergraduate and graduate recruitment:

  • Institutions are prioritizing undergraduate outreach in India (70%), Vietnam (66%), China (53%), and South Korea (53%). Graduate recruitment is focused on India (80%), China (46%), Vietnam (42%), and Nigeria (40%).
  • 85% of reporting institutions indicate that financial support for their international student recruitment efforts was the same or higher than in the previous year.
  • U.S. institutions report working with current international students, building international partnerships, and conducting in-person recruitment events to support outreach and recruitment.

My understanding is that the percentages refer to which fraction of institutions conduct outreach activities in that country.

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