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Number of International Students Attending American Colleges and Universities Continues Rising

Foreign students at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota

Foreign students at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota

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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report in Special English.

A new report says more and more international students are attending colleges and universities in the United States. It also notes a large increase in the number of international students from China.

These findings are from the latest edition of the Open Doors Report. The report is a joint project of the State Department and the Institute of International Education, a non-profit educational and training organization.

The report documents the record number of international students in the United States during the twenty-eleven, twenty-twelve school year. It says more than seven hundred sixty-four thousand four-hundred such students were attending American colleges and universities during that period. That represents an increase of almost six percent compared to one year earlier.

By comparison, the number of Americans studying overseas increased by one percent.

The report says one hundred ninety-four thousand students at American colleges and universities were from China. That is an increase of more than twenty-three percent over the year before.

Peggy Blumenthal is an aide to the president of the Institute of International Education. She described the effect of the increase in Chinese students.

“Now they have been coming for some time. But this year was the highest level ever, and it really showed in the figures, driving the whole global, international undergraduate enrollment to be higher than the graduate students.”

She says many Chinese families are able to pay for the highest-quality education for their children. The children mainly choose to study in America.

“We know many of them have enough income to be able to afford to send them anywhere in the world that they want to go. And for the most part, looking around the world, Chinese students still prefer to come to the United States as their destination of choice.”

Chinese students are not the only ones who want to attend American colleges and universities. After China, India sends the second largest number of students to the United States for higher education. India has about one hundred thousand students in American schools. South Korea is third with about seventy two thousand students.

Why do so many foreign students study in the United States? Peggy Blumenthal provides one reason.

“The advantage America has is that we have a huge system and a very diverse system. So there are over four thousand universities and colleges in the United States, and what that tells us is there is still a lot of room to host international students.”

Foreign students represent less than four percent of the total student population in American higher education. Ms. Blumenthal says this means there is still a lot of room for international students.

And from Learning English, that’s the VOA Special English Education Report. I’m Bob Doughty.

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