The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 3% to 690,923 during the 2009/10 academic year, according to the Open Doors report, which is published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This represents a record high number of international students in the United States. The growth was primarily driven by a 30% increase in Chinese student enrollment in the United States to a total of nearly 128,000 students, or more than 18% of the total international student population, making China the leading sending country. Students from India increased by 2% to a total of nearly 105,000. Indian students represent 15% of all international students in U.S. higher education.
Open Doors 2010 reports 2009/10 enrollments, affected by decisions made in a period of economic downturn in the United States and in many countries around the world. The data reveal a complicated picture of international student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities, with enrollment patterns varying widely according to place of origin and academic level. There were strong increases in the number of students from a few countries, but more than half of the top 25 sending countries showed decreases, resulting in a slower rate of overall growth than had been seen in recent years. Each of the top five host U.S. states - California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois - saw increases in the number of international students they hosted.
Early indications of international enrollments for fall 2010, based on a "snapshot" Fall 2010 Online Survey conducted by IIE in cooperation with seven other higher education associations, show that campuses are seeing similar or higher rates of increase for both new and total international student enrollments compared to the previous year. Of the responding institutions, 52% (350) reported seeing an increase in their total international student enrollments, and 21% (137) reporting seeing a decline, while 27% (181) reported no change from the prior year.
"American colleges and universities have attracted a record number of international students for the 2009-2010 academic year. The State Department, through partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities, has made it a priority to reach out to talented international students, particularly students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A global education prepares them to become leaders in their own countries and societies," said Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
"The United States continues to host more international students than any other country in the world," said Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education. "Active engagement between U.S. and international students in American classrooms provides students with valuable skills that will enable them to collaborate across cultures and borders to address shared global challenges in the years ahead."
Together, the top three sending countries - China, India and South Korea - comprise nearly half (44%) of the total international enrollments in U.S. higher education.
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