- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2000

Record numbers of international students are studying at U.S. colleges and universities, a new study has found.
Foreign student enrollment rose 5 percent this year, the second biggest increase in the past 10 years, according to a report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), which has conducted the annual statistical survey of foreign students in the United States since 1949.
In the 1999-2000 academic year, 514,723 foreign students attended U.S. schools, according to the study, "Open Doors 2000."
"These numbers highlight the central role of U.S. colleges and universities in strengthening our relations with those who live beyond our borders," said William B. Bader, assistant secretary of state for education and cultural affairs, whose office funded the IIE report through a grant.
"When these students return home, they take with them an appreciation of American values, culture and society that contributes to improved bilateral relations, business relationships and cultural ties," he said.
The upward trend in international enrollment began two years ago after four years of moderate growth, IIE officials said. The United States remains the most popular destination for foreign students to study worldwide, but the percentage has fallen off from 40 percent to 30 percent in the past decade.
IIE President Allan E. Goodman urged the nation to continue to do what is necessary to attract more international students for both economic and policy reasons.
Although international students make up only 3 percent of the nation's college student population, they add more than $12 billion to the economy in tuition, living expenses and other college costs, the report found.
China, for the second year in a row, sent the most students to study in the United States, according to the report, which said Chinese enrollment rose 7 percent to 54,466. India was second with 42,337, an increase of 13 percent over the previous year.
Despite a recent economic crisis, South Korea recovered and sent 41,191 students to study in the United States, an increase of 5 percent.
Enrollment fell for Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia, but rose for Mexico (10 percent), Brazil (7 percent) and Turkey (8 percent).
Since 1993, international student enrollment has increased at community colleges by about 46 percent, the IIE said. In the 1999-2000 academic year, community colleges have seen a 6 percent rise in foreign students, who numbered 85,817.
"International students have begun to use our community colleges the same way Americans do: to get a good, solid education at a lower cost," said Todd Davis, who edited the Open Doors report.
"The increased international student presence is helping to internationalize these campuses," Mr. Davis said. "This is particularly valuable since fewer American community college students have been able to take advantage of study-abroad opportunities to date."
Of the foreign students enrolled in the United States, 24,574 are studying within 50 miles of Washington, D.C., the IIE said.
More than 25,600 are studying in the Boston area, while 24,722 are in or near Los Angeles. Other cities with high foreign enrollments include Chicago, with 13,607, and San Francisco, with 13,275, the study said.
The most popular majors for foreign students included business and management (20 percent), engineering (15 percent), and mathematics and computer sciences (19 percent).

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