Area of study with the fewest international students had a big increase during the last school year.
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
In the United States, the area of study with the fewest international students is agriculture. The number was about 9,000 during the last school year. More than 10 times as many studied business or engineering.
But the crop of foreign students in agriculture and natural resources was 20 percent bigger than the year before. The Institute of International Education in New York says that was the biggest increase of any area of study. So this week in our Foreign Student Series we look at agriculture programs in the United States.
About 100 colleges and universities began as public agricultural schools and continue to teach agriculture. These are known as land-grant schools.
In 1862, Congress passed legislation that gave thousands of hectares to each state. States were to sell the land and use the money to establish colleges to teach agriculture, engineering and military science. A congressman from Vermont, Justin Smith Morrill, wrote the legislation.
The state of Michigan already had an agricultural college. But that college was the first to officially agree to receive support under the Morrill Act. It grew into what is now Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Today, Michigan State has more than 40,000 students. More than 4,000 of them are international students. They come from 125 countries.
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University offers 60 programs of study. Richard Brandenburg is the associate dean for graduate programs. He says foreign agriculture students this year are from countries including Japan, the Netherlands, Rwanda, El Salvador, Turkey, Sri Lanka and India.
In all, the college has 433 foreign students in East Lansing. It also has 11 students at a campus in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The only agriculture program currently offered in Dubai is construction management.
Michigan State opened its Dubai campus in August. It has only about 50 students now, but the university says it has received about ninety applications for admission this fall. We'll talk more about foreign campuses of American universities next week.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Our series is online at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Bob Doughty.