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US universities dominance in research rankings slips as China rises | This Week in Admission News

13 OCT 2022

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week Times Higher Education rankings revealed that Chinese universities are rising in the research rankings. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!


US universities dominance in research rankings slips as China rises, according to Times Higher Education rankings

Chinese universities are rising in the rankings for research institutions as the US continues to slide, the Times Higher Education Rankings reported. The growing gap in output between elite universities in the US and the rest has been cited as a reason for the slip in rankings. However, China is lacking in internationalisation and not many overseas students go to China to pursue higher education. 

Oxford University was ranked the highest in the category for the seventh consecutive year. 

The U.S. and U.K. continue to dominate the upper echelon of the rankings, with the U.S. taking seven of the top 10 slots and Britain three. Oxford is followed by Harvard University, University of Cambridge, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of California, Berkeley, Yale University and Imperial College London.

However, among the top 100 universities, the number of those in the U.S. fell to 34 from 43 between 2018 and this year. The number of Chinese universities in the top 100 increased from two to seven. 

The Chinese government has consistently invested in higher education and research and development for more than 20 years, with funding specifically targeted at developing world-class universities, training scholars at top institutions in the West and building capacity in China. As a result, the number of Chinese scholarly publications has been growing steadily since the mid-1990s.

An impact of this investment can also be seen in the number of Chinese students attending US universities this year. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the number of U.S. visas issued to Chinese students for the new academic year plunged from pre-pandemic levels. On the other hand, the number of student visas awarded to Indian students went up significantly. More than 84,000 student, or F-1, visas were issued to Indian students from May to August, the period that accounts for the bulk of student-visa issuances. That’s almost 45% more visas for Indian students than the same four months last year and a staggering 148% more than during that span of 2019.

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. ACT test scores have dropped to their lowest point in more than 30 years, AP reported. The class of 2022's average ACT composite score was 19.8 out of 36, marking the first time since 1991 that the average score was below 20. Further, 42% of high school students failed to meet any of the subject-area benchmarks set by the ACT — showing a decline in preparedness for college-level coursework following learning disruptions due to the Covid pandemic. The number of students taking the ACT has declined 30% since 2018, as graduates increasingly forgo college and some universities no longer require admissions tests.
  2. Despite multiple lawsuits, the White House released a preview of the application form for the president's one-time student debt relief cancellation, USA Today reported. The form is available in English and Spanish, on mobile as well as desktop and will require a Social Security number. Borrowers are eligible to receive $10,000 or $20,000 in debt relief depending on their income and whether they received a Pell Grant in college. 
  3. Higher education institutions across London are collaboratively pushing the government for a range of initiatives that they say are needed to increase the city’s attractiveness to international student markets, The PIE News reported. The lead recommendation is to establish a dedicated International Education Champion for London who will work alongside the UK’s International Education Champion, Sir Steve Smith. Other recommendations include piloting a new single pathway student visa that will “incentivise” undergraduate international students to progress more easily to postgraduate qualifications.
  4. Australia has moved to put the cap back on the number of hours international students are permitted to work, The PIE News reported. The country’s federal government had removed the restrictions in the face of growing skills shortages last year. Stakeholders feared it could seriously compromise the students’ focus away from their studies and thereby result in below par academic performances. In the face of these concerns, the cap has been reversed to its pre-pandemic levels. 
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