A record number of foreign students were enrolled in American colleges during the 2012-2013 academic year, increasing more than seven percent to 819,644 over the previous year, according to a new report
from the nonprofit Institute of International Education.
Citing the report called "Open Doors," The Wall Street Journal noted
that the number of U.S. students studying abroad has tripled over the past 20 years from 71,000 to 283,332.
China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada send the most students to the United States, according to the study, with China and Saudi Arabia adding the most students to U.S. college over the 2012-2013 school year.
Altogether, the foreign students make up 3.9 percent of the undergraduate and graduate population in U.S. colleges.
When it comes to choice, the top four schools drawing the most students from abroad are the University of Southern California, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University, and New York University. All four drew more than 9,000 foreign students during the last school year.
The increase in foreign students, according to the Journal, represents and aggressive push by schools to add more foreign students, most of whom pay their own way and aren't eligible for any U.S. aid or loans. Some schools rely on foreign recruitment to fill in gaps in enrollment as more and more U.S. high school students opt not to attend college for economic or other reasons, and as federal and state aid tightens as public universities.
The students not only help the schools because they usually pay higher tuition and other fees to attend, they also contribute mightily to the U.S. economy. The reported that foreign students contribute about $24 billion each year to the economy across all 50 states.
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