Foreign students in U.S. at record high

Amy Scott Nov 14, 2011

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A new report out today says more than 700,000 foreign students came to the U.S. to study last year. That’s a record high for U.S. colleges and universities. Why the influx? It has a lot to do with state budgets.

From the Marketplace Education Desk at WYPR in Baltimore, Amy Scott explains.

AMY SCOTT: China sent the most students.

The annual Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education says the number of Chinese students on U.S. campuses was up 22 percent last school year.

Allan Goodman is president of the Institute. He says international students pump more than $21 billion into the U.S. economy.

ALLAN GOODMAN: Yes, they pay tuition but they also rent their housing, they buy a computer, they buy books, they buy clothing. They contribute not just to the college, but to the broader community.

They often pay full tuition, and universities hit by state budget cuts say that’s one reason they’re recruiting more foreign students.

Mary Anne Saunders directs the Office of Global Education at Kent State University in Ohio. She says American students get something too.

MARY ANNE SAUNDERS: They’re going to be participating in a global universe when they get out of this institution and they need to be prepared.

And the report says less than two percent of American students studied abroad in the 2009 and 2010 school year.

I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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