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Record High for Foreign Students at U.S. Colleges
November 13, 2012

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The number of non-American residents attending U.S. college has reached an all-time high.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that in 2011, the number of foreign students was 764,495, an increase of 6 percent over the previous year and nearly one-third over the previous decade. It was the sixth straight year of increases.

The country sending the highest number of students to American institutions of higher learning was China, at 158,000. Second through fifth were India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. Those five countries accounted for 38 percent of all foreign students. Saudi Arabia's enrollment jumped 50 percent over 2010 levels, in part because of a new government scholarship scheme.

The Commerce Department estimated that such foreign enrollments in American colleges contributed about $23 billion a year to the U.S. economy.

California continued as the top state destination, and New York was still the top city destination. An emerging trend was the growing interest in Midwestern universities. Indiana had the largest increase of any state. Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio also showed significant increases.

The same report, Open Doors on International Educational Exchange, from the nonprofit Institute of International Education, also set the number of American students studying in other countries at 273,996, a 1.3 percent over 2010 levels and a threefold increase in the past 25 years.

The top five destinations for American students were the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and China.







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