The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


NEW YORK, Wednesday—The Institute of International Education has just published their report, which is a survey of the foreign students in institutions of higher education in the United States during the school year of 1953-1954. This report is published annually and I wish everyone who can get a copy would read it with care. They would then, I feel sure, see to it that Congress increases the opportunities for the exchange of students between our country and other countries throughout the world.

From what is told in this book, you can get an idea about the kind of graduates and undergraduates who are coming to us—learning, we hope, things that will be of benefit to them and to their countries when they return home. At the same time, they are making friends here, absorbing the atmosphere of our country, and coming to understand it so that they will be able to explain us to the people of their countries.

In the autumn of 1953, nearly 34,000 students from abroad were enrolled in American colleges and universities. Over 54 percent of all foreign students in the United States are undergraduates, 29 percent are graduate students, and 5 percent are classified as special students.

Over 60 percent of the undergraduate foreign students are either Canadian or Latin American. The Indian students are, for the most part, older; about 60 percent of them are on the graduate level. There are also more graduate than undergraduate students from the United Kingdom. France and the Philippines send about an equal number of graduates and undergraduates to study here.

It is interesting to find that 71 percent of the engineering students are on the undergraduate level. In the social sciences, there are many more graduate students than there are undergraduates, but the physical and natural sciences are the ones where the greatest number of graduate students are to be found.

In the other major fields—medicine, agriculture, education and business administration—the overall ratio is about 64 percent undergraduates to about 29 percent graduates.

Far more men than women come to us from Asia, Latin America, Canada and Africa. The highest ratio of women seems to come from the Philippines and from Europe.

In many cases, scholarships to this country have been limited to two years, the feeling being that, if young people stay longer, they may become alienated from their own countries and want to settle down here. It is probable that four or five thousand foreign students spend only one year here, more of them stay for two years, but only a few stay for three or four years.

In this census, a foreign student is defined as a citizen of a country other than the United States who is studying or training in an institution of higher learning in the U.S. and who plans to return to his own country when his studies are through. This contributes to better international understanding and will be a great bulwark to the whole idea of the United Nations and the work of its specialized agencies.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 24, 1954

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.