A new report says the number of foreign students at colleges and universities in the United States increased three percent last year. This was the first notable increase since 2001. And it included a ten percent jump in new international students.
EDUCATION REPORT The "Open Doors" report is from the Institute of International Education in New York, with support from the State Department.
American schools last fall had 583,000 foreign students. The record is 586,000. That was set in 2002 after many years of gains. But after that the numbers fell.
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks led to more restrictive visa requirements. Now, stronger efforts are being made to get more foreign students to study in the United States.
For the sixth year, India sent the most international students last fall, almost 84,000. That was up ten percent from the year before. China remained in second place, and South Korea was third.
Japan was fourth among the twenty leading senders of foreign students. But the number of Japanese fell sharply -- nine percent.
There were three percent drops from Indonesia and Kenya, the only African country in the top twenty last year. But there were notable increases from Saudi Arabia, Nepal and Vietnam. The number of Saudi students more than doubled, to nearly 8,000.
For a sixth year, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles had the most foreign students -- more than 7,000. Columbia University in New York was second.
Other schools in the top five were New York University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University.
The leading area of study was business and management. That was the choice for eighteen percent of foreign students last year. Second was engineering.
The new report also says more than 220,000 Americans studied in other countries. That was during the 2005-2006 school year. It was a record number, and an increase of eight and a half percent from the year before. But only five and a half percent of them stayed for a full year.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. For a link to the "Open Doors" report, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.