Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Foreign Student Dilemma

The only prudent policy-planning assumption must be that it will be impossible to offset this decline of foreign STEM students with our own young people. This is not meant to suggest that efforts to attract more U.S. citizens to STEM fields, including women and underrepresented minorities, should be relaxed. Rather, it reflects the modest success achieved to date and the lack of understanding of the problem's root causes.

Policymakers should therefore place a high priority on mitigating the negative effects of the increased care and scrutiny with which foreign students will henceforth be admitted to the United States. Without adequate policies, an inadequate STEM workforce will eventually diminish U.S. capacity to increase productivity: the bedrock of continued improvements in living standards and national wealth.

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