Over 10% Drop In Fulbright Applications in 2016
1600 students from all over Pakistan applied for the Fulbright program this year in 2016 – a nearly 10% drop compared with those from last year when over 1800 students applied for the USEFP program. Still, the number of scholarships is expected to remain the same as last year – nearly 160-180 students are expected to receive the Fulbright award this year as well. This drop in Fulbright applications doesn’t mean that fewer students are applying to US graduate schools since there has been an increase of around 25% in the number of GRE test takers (from 2300 to 2900) in Pakistan who send their GRE scores to US graduate schools. This implies that direct applications to US graduate schools has become more popular as compared to applying to the Fulbright program.
Many students don’t want to apply for the Fulbright program primarily because of the 2-5 year restriction of returning to Pakistan. Moreover direct scholarships in the form of Teaching or research assistantships are abundant as well and do not restrict Pakistani’s from working in the US or settling there.
450 students have been called in for the Fulbright interview this year as opposed to 300 last year suggesting that the application pool might be a bit stronger this time.