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New Data Shows Interest in International Education Remains High

New Data Shows Interest in International Education Remains High


Data released last month by the Institute of International Education (IIE) demonstrates significant growth in interest among U.S. students in studying abroad and among foreign students in seeking an American educational experience.

According to IIE’s new online survey, 45 percent of respondents report increases in the number of students studying abroad, suggesting that study abroad is more popular than ever. Responses also indicate that despite varied reports from campuses and some decreases in enrollments this fall from certain Middle Eastern countries, the overall number of foreign students in the United States is remaining relatively steady in 2002. The survey was conducted on IIE’s membership Web site over a two-week time period in late October, with more than 300 educators responding.

The Institute’s annual comprehensive report on international student mobility, Open Doors 2002, shows that a record total of 582,996 international students studied in the United States this year, making higher education one of this country’s leading exports, bringing nearly $12 billion into the U.S. economy. The number of international students increased by more than 6 percent in academic year 2001/02, equaling last year’s increase as the largest increase since 1980.

Of particular note this year, India surpassed China as the leading country of origin for international students in the United States for the first time, and University of Southern California has surpassed New York University as the leading host institution in the United States, with 5,950 international students.

Study abroad by American students has also increased rapidly over the past five years (up 55 percent), although the total number of students who study abroad still represent a small percentage of the total U.S. student population. The number of U.S. college students receiving credit for study abroad in 2000/01 increased 7.4 percent from the previous year, reaching a record total of 154,168. Since 1991/92, the number of students studying abroad has more than doubled (from 71,154 to 154,168, an increase of 116 percent).

“These numbers are encouraging,” says Patricia Harrison, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “International educational exchange has always been critical for improving economic, political, and social conditions. International education has been and continues to be the key to promoting democracy, and civil society. Welcoming learners from around the world and encouraging Americans to study abroad builds the mutual understanding and respect that is vital for today’s world.”

Allan E. Goodman, IIE’s president and CEO, said, “One year after September 11, it is welcome news that American students continue to demonstrate an increased interest in world affairs and seek opportunities to study abroad, and that international students are continuing to come to the United States to study. The exchange of knowledge and ideas between American citizens and the people of other nations is vital to American higher education and to the prospect of creating a peaceful, more secure world.”

Complete results of the online survey and additional findings of the Open Doors 2002 report can be found at .

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