20060425 grads gettyid52946697
Students cheer during commencement ceremonies at Columbia University May 18, 2005 in New York City. - 


Scott Jagow: The U.S. Education Secretary is playing college recruiter this week. She's down in Latin America trying to encourage high school students there to come to school here. But between the immigration crackdown and an unpopular war, it's a tough sell. Dan Grech reports from our Americas Desk at WLRN.

Dan Grech: Since 9/11, the number of F-1 student visas is down 6 percent.

Jeffrey Puryear with the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue says that's not because foreign students don't want to study here.

Jeffrey Puryear: People recognize that the United States has the best system of higher education in the world. They're more concerned with, you know, 'Am I going to get a visa?'

He says this red tape is messing with U.S. foreign policy. That's because international students grow up to be business partners and political allies.

Puryear: They can relate to the U.S., they understand things, they know who to talk to. And it also raises the level of sophistication of leaders in Latin America.

While the U.S. has made it harder for international students, other countries are wooing them. The U.K., Canada and Australia aggressively market to international students, and are drawing them away by the thousands.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.