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News Release 14-169

Expected stay rates of US and foreign doctoral graduates diverge with time

Numbers are important for policymakers and researchers

Researchers in a lab

Temporary visa holders more likely to leave the United States.

December 11, 2014

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

A new National Science Foundation (NSF) report reveals the number of U.S. citizen doctoral graduates in science, engineering and health fields, who remain in the United States, tracks closely with their intent to stay in the United States at the time of graduation. However, there are noticeable differences for doctoral graduates who were temporary visa holders at the time of graduation.

According to the report, 96.4 percent of U.S. citizen doctoral graduates from academic years 2001-09 reported their intent to live in the United States, a measure referred to as the expected stay rate. In 2010, 96.2 percent--the actual stay rate--were still living in the United States.

Among doctoral graduates who were temporary visa holders, 76.4 percent reported their intention to stay in the United States. However, the actual and expected stay rates diverge as time since graduation increases. By 2010, only 68.5 percent of graduates with a temporary visa remained in the United States.

The data presented in this report are important for policymakers and researchers who are interested in understanding the factors influencing the employment decisions of doctoral degree holders.

See more from this report: Employment Decisions of U.S. and Foreign Doctoral Graduates: A Comparative Study.

For more information and statistical products, please visit NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, email:

Program Contacts
Lynn Milan, NSF, (703) 292-2275, email:
Wan-Ying Chang, NSF, (703) 292-2310, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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