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Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 11/13/2009

The List: Students from China lead rise in foreign enrollments at U.S. colleges

By Valerie Strauss

Foreign enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is up this fall--with students from China leading the way--but overall growth seems to be slowing, according to a new survey just released.

Here is a list (Friday is List Day on The Sheet) of findings from the survey, a collaboration of eight organizations that was conducted in October and that involved 701 schools, 62 percent public and 38 percent private. This survey shows trends; the detailed numbers will be released next week.

*Total enrollment of international students:
--Half of the responding schools reported an increase in international student enrollments, 24 percent a decline and 26 percent reported level enrollments. Last year 57 percent reported an increase, 16 percent a decline and 27 percent level enrollments.

*Changes in new enrollments of international students:
Forty five percent of all schools reported an increase, 29 percent a decline and 26 percent level enrollments. Last year, 56 percent reported an increase, 19 percent a decline.

*Changes in new enrollments of students from specific counties:
--China: 60 percent of responding schools reported increases of students; 11 percent had declines.
--Middle East: 30 percent reported increases; 11 percent reported declined.
--Saudi Arabia: 30 reported increases vs. 10 percent reporting declined. (Schools were asked to separately comment on enrollments from Saudi Arabia, whose government makes scholarship awards for students studying abroad.)
--Europe: 31% reported an increase and 19% reported a decline.
--Brazil: 26 percent reported increases, 18 percent had declines.
--Japan: 30 percent had a decline, 19 percent an increase.
It was the fourth straight year that more institutions reported declines than increases in students from Japan.
--Indonesia: 18 percent reported a decline; 18 percent an increase.
--India: 29 percent reported increases; 29 percent reported decreases.
When looking at the top 121 responding schools--or those that enroll more than 1,000 foreign students--half said they had a decline in students from India; 31 percent reported an increase.

*Fields of study
--STEM fields: In the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, 28.6 percent reported an overall increase this fall over last fall, and 11.5 percent reported a decline.
--MBA programs: 41 percent had an increase; 22 percent a drop.

Campuses seeing declined cited these reasons:
*Current economic conditions in home country
* Concern about the H1N1, or swine flu, virus
*Lack of financial aid or scholarships
*Poor U.S. job market

Campuses that saw increases cited:
*Increased recruitment efforts
*Growing visibility of U.S. schools around the world.
*More partnerships between U.S. and foreign institutions

The survey was done by the Institute of International Education in cooperation with:
--American Association of Community Colleges
--American Association of State Colleges and Universities
--American Council on Education
--Association of American Universities
--Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
--Council of Graduate Schools
--NAFSA: Association of International Educators

By Valerie Strauss  | November 13, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  foreign enrollments at u.s. colleges  
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