American universities have occupied an unchallenged position of preeminence in the world. American institutions dominate the highest rungs of the various world rankings of great universities. As a result of America's comparative advantage in this industry, higher education has become one its major exports. But there are signs that this position of preeminence could be in jeopardy. This chapter examines aspects of American higher education today that will affect its future global standing and addresses key issues surrounding the position of American universities in the global higher education market. It opens by considering the evidence of US preeminence among the world's universities as well as indications that this position might be in jeopardy. The chapter discusses the aspects of American higher education that distinguish it as an industry and highlights the ways it has responded to global pressures. Furthermore, the nature of the foreign competition that the United States faces in the global higher education market is addressed. The future position of American higher education in the world depends in part on a large and continuing flow of talented graduate students from abroad to help fill a university's graduate rosters and staff its labs.
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