Foreign Students Flock to U.S. in Record Numbers

By Schoof, Renee | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), November 17, 2014 | Go to article overview

Foreign Students Flock to U.S. in Record Numbers


Schoof, Renee, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


WASHINGTON - The number of international students in the United States last year rose to a record 886,052, with China by far leading as the nation sending the most students for the fifth year in a row, according to data to be released on Monday by the Institute of International Education in cooperation with the State Department. America's popularity is reflected in the fact that the number of international students in the U.S. is nearly double what it was 20 years ago.

Overall, 4.2 percent of students at American colleges and universities are from other countries. At some popular destination universities, however, international students make up 15 percent to 20 percent of student bodies.

Meanwhile, more than 289,000 U.S. students went abroad to study in 2012-13, the latest year for which figures available. The numbers show that fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad during their undergraduate years.

"International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education, and study abroad should be viewed as an essential element of a college degree, Allan E. Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, said in a press release. "Learning how to study and work with people from other countries and cultures also prepares future leaders to contribute to making the world a less dangerous place.

The new annual report shows more than 274,000 Chinese students were studying in the U.S. in 2013-14, an increase of 16.5 percent from the previous year. They made up 31 percent of all foreign students nationwide.

Chinese students mainly are self-funded, said Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice president for research and evaluation at IIE, a nonprofit group that promotes international exchanges. Its annual "Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is based on data from surveys of U.S. institutions of higher education.

The data show that overall, 64.7 percent of all international students said their primary source of funds was themselves and their families, while 19.3 percent said their funding was mainly from a U.S. college or university and 7.5 percent said it was mainly from a foreign government or university.

Saudi Arabia now ranks fourth in the number of students sent to America, after China, India and South Korea. There were nearly 54,000 Saudi students in 2013-14, an increase of 21 percent over 2012-13.

Brazil, which ranks 10th had more than 13,000 students in the U. …

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