Our STEM educational system is globalized

In the mid 20th Century, the United States had an overwhelming advantage over most of the world in the size of investment in formal education. (See here.)

That advantage has greatly declined. One result is that the educated population, tremendously grown and more distributed, is competing and complementing the educated American. I believe that one aspect of this competition – complementarity is the emerge of over a billion workers into a global economy brought together by lower communication and transportation costs. These trends will continue.

Another aspect of global transformation is globalization of STEM higher education in the United States by foreign-born students. America still dominates in the field of higher education. Twelve of the top 25 universities in the world are in the United States, which has 4% of the world’s population. 

In 1966 there were about 18,000 doctoral degrees awarded by American universities; about 15% of which were to non-Americans. In 2014 there were about 55,000, of which 40% were to non-Americans.

In a 2015 survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Graduate Record Examinations Board, about 55% of all participating graduate students in mathematics, computer sciences, and engineering at US schools were found to be foreign nationals. In 2017, the National Foundation for American Policy estimated that international students accounted for 81% of full-time graduate students in electrical engineering at U.S. universities; and 79% of full-time graduate students in computer science. (See here.)

Will these students stay here? Gone were the days when a European-born genius such as John von Neumann and Albert Einstein would migrate here and assuredly stay.

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