China top source of international students in US

By Chen Weihua in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-11-14 11:11

China remains the top source of international students enrolled in US universities and colleges in the 2016-17 academic year, according to a report released on Monday.

The 350,755 Chinese mainland students enrolled is a 6.8 percent increase from the previous year and account for 32.5 percent of the total international students enrolled, according to the 2017 Open Doors report by the Institute for International Education.

It is the second year that the number of international students exceeded 1 million, to 1.08 million in the 2016-17 academic year, up 3.4 percent from the previous year. International students made up over 5 percent of the more than 20 million students enrolled in US higher education.

The Chinese mainland remains the top source, with almost twice the number of students in the US as India, but India's rate of growth outpaced that of the Chinese mainland in the 2016-17 academic year. In all, the two countries represent some 50 percent of the total enrollment of international students in the US.

South Korea moved up to the third place despite a drop of 3.8 percent in enrollment from previous year. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and Iran.

"International student exchange is an essential contributor to America's economic competitiveness and national security. The US higher education sector remains the global leader in welcoming students from around the world, and at the same time, we are committed to increasing opportunities to study abroad for Americans," said Alyson Grunder, deputy assistant secretary of state for policy in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The report shows that the continued growth in the international students has a significant positive impact on the US. International students contributed more than $39 billion to the US economy in 2016, compared with the $35 billion in the previous year, according to the US Department of Commerce.

The report said that two thirds of all international students receive the majority of their funding from sources outside the US, including personal and family sources as well as aid from their governments or universities.

"Students from around the world who study in the United States also contribute to America's scientific and technical research and bring international perspectives into US classrooms, helping prepare American students for global careers, and often lead to longer-term business relationships and economic benefits," the report said.

With 156,879 international students, California is the top host state, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois. All but 19 states and US territories saw rising international enrollments in 2016-17.

For the fourth year in a row, New York University hosted the largest number of international students. The University of Southern California remains the second-leading host. They were followed by Columbia University, Northeastern University, Arizona State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Combined, the top 25 campuses had 22.4 percent of all international students in the United States.

New York City is once again the top metropolitan area for international students, followed by Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago. Dallas surpassed San Francisco as the fifth-leading metropolitan area.

The Open Doors report said it marks the 11th consecutive year of continued expansion of the total number of international students in US higher education. However, the number of new international students - those enrolled at a US institution for the first time in fall 2016, declined by nearly 10,000 students to about 291,000, a 3 percent drop from the previous year.

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