Chinese students enroll in record numbers at U.S. colleges


Chinese undergraduates, like most international students, are highly attractive to universities: They are usually well-educated and well-traveled, bringing a global point-of-view and sophistication to campuses. Their helicopter parents are on the other side of the world. And they hardly ever tap university resources to fund their education.


View Photo Gallery: Chinese students enroll in record numbers at U.S. colleges.

(In fact, some universities became so zealous in their recruitment of international students that they hired commercial recruiting agents who charged hefty fees, Bloomberg reported in May.)

At the beginning of this school year, I tagged along with a group of Chinese students traveling from Dulles International Airport to the University of Virginia. In the last decade, U-Va. has seen its international student population increase 44 percent, with China being the most popular country of origin.

With that influx, it becomes easy for international students to just hang out with each other and speak their native language. At U-Va. I heard many gentle reminders for students to get out of their comfort zones and meet American students.

Some other numbers from the Open Doors report:

723,277: The total number of international students in the United States last school year. That’s a 4.7-percent increase from the previous year when there were 690,923 international students.

32 percent: The growth in the number of international students in the past decade.

$21 billion: The amount of money international students spend in the United States on tuition, fees, housing and living expenses.

70 percent: The percentage of international students whose primary source of funding for college is from their personal funds, family, government and other foreign sources.

157,558: The number of students from China, a group that makes up 22 percent of all international students. (This group grew 23 percent in one year for all Chinese students and 43 percent for undergraduates.) Other popular countries of origin are: India with 103,895 students, South Korea with 73,351 and Canada with 27,546.

8,615: The number of international students at the University of Southern California, the most popular host school last year.

For even more higher education news, follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.
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