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Back to January Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 312 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JANUARY 2012

The following letter to the editor appeared in
the Wall Street Journal on December 17, 2011:
Change in Science Ph.D. Students

Regarding your editorial "Green Card Progress" (Dec. 12): When I earned my Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1964, I was the only foreign graduate student in the department. When my daughter graduated from the same department a generation later, she was only one of two Americans in her group of 24. Recent statistics from electrical engineering departments indicate that the proportion of American Ph.D. awards has dropped to around 3% of the total.

American students entering universities find that they have to overcome too many deficiencies in math and the sciences. After a grueling four to six years of undergraduate studies they have accumulated sizable student loans. There is very little incentive for them to apply for a graduate research assistantship that pays $20,000 per year. When I attended UC in 1962, my stipend was $7,500 per year. My family did not have difficulty living on this stipend. What makes this particularly appalling is that American graduate schools, the last bastions of U.S. supremacy, are mostly exploited by foreign countries. Like our budget deficits, it seems as if no one cared as long as we could fill our research labs with cheap labor, and there was always some country ready to loan us money.

Prof. Ezekiel Bahar
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

 
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