This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
A new report says the number of foreign students in the United States reached a record high in 2008.
More than 670,000 international students attended an American college or university last year. That was eight percent higher than the year before, the largest percentage increase since 1980.
The "Open Doors" report is published by the Institute of International Education, with support from the State Department.
It says the number of international students last year was almost 15 percent higher than the last record setting year, 2002. In all, seven of the ten top countries sent more students last year, just as the economic downturn was worsening.
For the eighth year, India remained the leader in sending students to the United States. More than 100,000 students from India attended American schools last year. That was nine percent more than the year before.
China again sent the second largest number, more than 98,000, an increase of 21 percent. The biggest increases were in Chinese undergraduate students.
South Korea was third. The number of South Korean students increased nine percent to 75,000.
Canada was the only non-Asian country in the top five. It rose two percent to fourth place. Almost 30,000 Canadian students enrolled for the school year that began last autumn.
Japan fell to fifth place. The number of Japanese students in the United States decreased for the fourth year, to just over 29,000.
Taiwan also sent fewer students, and the number from Mexico was nearly unchanged.
The University of Southern California in Los Angeles once again had the highest number of foreign students. The "Open Doors" report says nearly 7,500 attended U.S.C. last year.
New York University and Columbia University, both in New York City, were second and third. The other schools in the top five were the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Business and management was again the most popular area of study for international students. The next most popular subjects are engineering, math and computer science.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by June Simms. You can find our Foreign Student Series with advice on studying in the United States at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.
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