American universities are enrolling a new wave of Chinese undergraduates, according to the annual Open Doors Report.
While India was, for the eighth consecutive year, the leading country of origin for international students—sending 103,260 students, a 9% increase over the previous year—China is rapidly catching up, sending 98,510 last year, a 21% increase.
“I think we’re going to be seeing 100,000 students from each for years to come, with an increasing share of them being undergraduates,” said Peggy Blumenthal, executive vice-president of the Institute of International Education, which publishes the report with support from the state department.
Overall, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the US increased by 8% to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008-09 academic year—the largest percentage increase in at least 25 years, according to the report.
With the current recession, the influx of international students has been especially important to the American economy, according to Allan E. Goodman, president of the institute.
“International education is domestic economic development,” Goodman said.
©2009/The New York Times