International STEM Students Ditching US for Canada, Australia
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  • Tianhao Wu

    Graduate level education seems to be a paradox the U.S. has yet to solve. On the one hand, the media and policymakers are spreading the idea that STEM degrees are vital for enhancing economic growth.

    I take no issue with this statement regarding the T & E in STEM; there’s virtually a 0% unemployment rate for computer science undergrads from top universities.

    Yet, the same media outlets have continually espoused the theory of “the disposable academic” where biology and chemistry PHDs toil away for years in minimum wage conditions hoping to win the lottery and become tenure track.

    If there is such a high demand in the market for the natural science degrees, wouldn’t the glut of academic hopefuls shift from academia to industry? As someone working in finance, I know that many of our smartest quants are physics and math PHDs lured into the profession by lucrative wages. I refuse to believe that PHDs in the other sciences are somehow more nobel and shortsighted that they refuse to leave academia. This leads me to conclude that the opportunities for non-engineering, non-data heavy PHDs just arn’t that abundant.

    At the same time, I view retaining immigrant PHDs as one of the biggest competitive advantages the U.S. could have. Since top tier talent from across the world is willing to immigrate here and do the same high caliber of work for a significantly lower wage (their boss can always hold the threat of revoking the H1-Visa over their heads), by definition we are minimizing costs.

    • As someone working in finance, I know that many of our smartest quants are physics and math PHDs lured into the profession by lucrative wages.____The key point is that the science PhDs do eventually get good jobs and pay taxes and buy stuff and make a positive contribution to the economy. Yes it takes a bit longer, but they do eventually get there.

  • Anthony

    “…to offset lackluster interest among U.S. citizens in some programs.” Troubling if true because STEM curricula and interest among U.S. populace needs embracing (not to offset H-1B visas granted) in order to further U.S. population with a body of highly specialized knowledge globally competitive.

  • ojfl

    But instead of addressing this problem individually we are stuck with the comprehensive approach to immigration reform. I would assume this is one component that could be quickly addressed in Congress but is being held by this newfound love for enormous bills. We cannot fix stupid.

  • So are these students coming here to get an education or to get out of China (often with their parents’ stolen loot)?

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