The number of Chinese applicants for graduate schools in the United States has dropped for the second year in a row, figures from an education group in the US show.
Applications from Chinese students for the 2014 fall enrollment dropped by 1 per cent from a year earlier, said the report by the Council of Graduate Schools.
Applications for the same period last year fell by 3 per cent from those of 2012, the report said.
Overall foreign applications for US graduate schools rose by 7 per cent, with the highest growth - 32 per cent - coming from India, said the report released recently by the council, which advocates graduate education and research.
"Dismissed by some observers a year ago as an aberration, the cooling of the Chinese market no longer can be written off as a one-year blip," the report said.
The survey was conducted in February and March. The 308 institutions that responded account for 67 per cent of the estimated 109,000 graduate degrees awarded to international students in 2011-12.
But Max Baucus, the US ambassador to China, said Chinese students still comprise the largest group of foreign students in the US.
"Last year, the US embassy issued 246,000 student and exchange visitor visas to Chinese applicants," Baucus said on Tuesday at a Beijing event for Chinese students heading to the US for study.
"Forty per cent of all our student visas are issued to Chinese," he said.
During the 2012-13 academic year, overall Chinese student enrollment at US colleges and universities rose by 21.4 per cent to more than 235,000, figures from the 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange showed.
The number of international students enrolled at US higher education institutions in the academic year increased by 7.2 per cent to 819,000, according to the report from the nonprofit Institute of International Education, based in the US.
Of the international students in the US, 28.7 per cent came from China.
Erik Black, education officer in the public affairs section of the US embassy in Beijing, said the Open Doors report is a "much more comprehensive survey" of more than 3,000 schools.
He said that according to this survey, there had been no fall in the number of graduates from China applying to US institutions.
Wang Jing, director of the US section at Chivast Education International, said the latest fall in the number of Chinese applicants to US graduate schools may result from an increasing number of Chinese students choosing to study in the US before university or even before high school.