A National Academies committee issued a report in May that calls for the creation of a new category of visa to make it easier for international graduate students and postdocs to study in the United States.

"Even with the improvements in the visa process, there still remains a lingering sense among many potential international students and postdocs that the US is a less welcoming place than other places they might go," says committee chair Phillip A. Griffiths of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Applications and admissions for international graduate students have been declining and there was a particularly steep drop in the 2003–2004 academic year. The panel says declines from diffi-acquiring visas.

Science and engineering students and postdocs usually enter on an F or J visa, which requires statement of to return to the home country (known as the 214b provision). If the proposed area of study...

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