U.S. enrollment in science and engineering (S&E) graduate programs in 2007 increased by 3.3% over comparable data for 2006. This is the highest annual growth rate since 2002 and is nearly double the 1.7% growth rate seen in 2006. First-time, full-time enrollment of foreign students (the terms foreign student and temporary visa holder are equivalent in this report) eclipsed its previous high, set in 2001, and total enrollment of temporary visa holders topped its 2003 high. Despite this growth, the proportion of S&E graduate students who are temporary visa holders remained below its peak level, set in 2002, because of growth in the numbers of U.S. citizens and permanent residents pursuing graduate-level study in S&E fields.
While this looks encouraging as a whole, a closer look at the "Physical Sciences" shows that the enrollment level between 2006 and 2007 remains flat, at best. Certainly there is a slight increasing number of enrollment since 2000, but it seems have leveled off around 2005. Coincidentally, this was the period of some of the most challenging times in funding for physics, with the Bush Administration and Congress trying to out-muscle each other, with funding in physics being the victim.