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Growth of Chinese Students in the US Slows Down: Report
2003-11-06 00:00

From 2002 to 2003 the Chinese mainland has seen slower growth in the number of students going to the United States for studies, according to the latest annual report of the US Institute of International Education (IIE) released on November 3. During the year the mainland has a total of 64,757 students studying in the United States, a rise of only 2 percent over the previous year, ranking second among all other countries and regions.

China began to send students to the United States in 1979, and saw the fastest growth and biggest number of students from 1989 to 1994. From 1995 its first place was taken over byJapan.Indiarose suddenly as a new force in the past two years, and stayed for the second year at the top of the list. In 2003 it sent a total of 74,603 students to the United States, up 12 percent year on year.

But if we add Taiwan at the fourth place (28,017 students, down 3 percent) and Hong Kong at the 15th place (8076 students, up 4 percent), China is still the country with the most students studying in the United States. The ROK and Japan take the third, fourth places respectively.

Latest statistics show that the United States has a total of 586,323 foreign students in 2003, a growth of less than 1 percent, being the smallest growth rate since 1998. This is mainly caused by the country's new visa policy and global economic depression, as well as by fiercer competition among world countries in enrolling foreign students, the report analyzed. Among the 275 US universities and colleges surveyed, nearly 60 percent believe the tighter visa policy has resulted in a reduction in the number of foreign students; and another 21 percent attributed the reduction to financial difficulties.

This case is especially prominent in Southeast Asian and Middle East countries. Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia all see more than 10 percent decrease in the number of their students studying in the United States. The number of students from Saudi Arab ia and Kuwait witnessed a sharp drop of 25 percent.

After the "September 11" incident in 2001, the United States tightened its control over the entry and exit of foreigners, it exercised tighter supervision and control over foreign students and imposed stricter examination of students' visas, which brought reproaches from many foreign students. Assistant Secretary of State Harrison said on Monday that the United States welcomes and stays open to good-willed students from worldwide, which is of vitally important for promoting mutual understanding and US own tranquility.

Students from worldwide bring an avenue of US$12.9 billion to the United States in 2003, this includes their tuition, living expenses and relevant charges, making them the fifth biggest income source in the service sector. About 75 percent of funds for these students come from sources outside of America. In fact, a bigger gain for the nation is gathering talents from across the world at low costs.

IIE president Goodman admitted that international education exchanges are very important for the United States, because foreign students bring the country knowledge, economic and cultural interests. He said that US departments should act in coordination to ensure the country's position as the world's biggest destination for foreign students.

California and New York are the two states with most foreign students to the numbers exceeding 80,000 and 63,000 respectively. New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington and Chicago are the five cities with a concentration of foreign students; the University of Southern California, New York University and Columbia University are the top three universities enrolling 5,000-6,000 foreign students each.

Statistics show that the hottest majors among foreign students are MBA, engineering and computer. The breaking of IT bubbles has led to a decrease of 6 percent of computer majors among foreign students.

By PD Online staff member Li Heng

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