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Evaluation of National Higher Education Systems Places United States First
A new ranking by Universitas 21 of nearly 50 higher education systems throughout the world places the United States in the first spot, followed by Sweden, Canada, Finland, and Denmark. Learn how the rankings were developed and see how other countries measure up

The following Article is taken from NAFSA: Association of International Educators News page.
The numbers for total enrollments of foreign students in the United States show that in this decade, enrollments were hitting unprecedented levels prior to 9/11 — both in total numbers and share of the student body at American institutions.
Total Enrollment of International Students at Colleges in U.S.

Year

Total Foreign Enrollment

1-Year % Increase

Intl. Share of Total Enrollments in U.S.

2000-1

547,867

+6.4%

3.9%

2001-2

582,996

+6.4%

4.3%

2002-3

586,323

+0.6%

4.6%

2003-4

572,509

-2.4%

4.3%

2004-5

565,039

-1.3%

4.0%

2005-6

564,766

-0.1%

3.9%


Students from other countries enroll in a range of programs at college in the United States. Just under half are graduate students, and there is a strong practical orientation in the fields of study of foreign students — whether in undergraduate or graduate programs. Of all foreign students, 17.9 percent are in business and management programs, 15.7 percent in engineering, 8.1 percent in mathematics and computer science, and 8.9 percent in physical and life sciences. The humanities share is 2.9 percent.
For American colleges, there are numerous reasons to value foreign students. There is the altruistic, educational role, of course — in which American students are exposed to people and ideas from all over the world, and non-Americans get to learn about American culture and values firsthand, while getting an education better than they might find at home. But there are also very practical reasons American college administrators need to worry about these figures. Many a science or engineering lab could not function these days on American talent alone.
And foreign students bring dollars to American higher education: According to the data being released today, the primary source of funds for 63.4 percent of foreign students is themselves and their families. American colleges are the top source of support for only 25.9 percent of the students.
A variety of factors — real and imagined — can have an impact on enrollment patterns from various countries. Blumenthal said that visa policies and the recruitment efforts of colleges obviously play a huge role. But she also said that the rumor mill was important. When word on the street is that visas are hard to come by, students stop applying. To counter this, she praised an effort by many U.S. embassies to post on their Web sites the average wait times on new visas. (See an example from the Web site of the embassy in China.)
Such factors are particularly important, she said, as other countries step up efforts to recruit foreign talent and an effort to “harmonize” European higher education under three-year undergraduate degrees may make students from Europe (and other places with three-year degrees) more likely to seek graduate education in countries that automatically recognize the three-year degrees. “Institutions [in the United States] are going to have to look at the entire record, and not just whether a degree was three years or four,” she said.
While students from all over the world come to the United States, three countries — India, China, and South Korea — account for more than one third of the total.

Top 10 Countries of Origin for Foreign Students in U.S., 2005-6
Rank and Country

Total

1-Year % Change

Share of International Enrollments

1. India

76,503

-4.9%

13.5%

2. China

62,582

+0.1%

11.1%

3. South Korea

58,847

+10.3%

10.4%

4. Japan

38,712

-8.3%

6.9%

5. Canada

28,202

+0.2%

5.0%

6. Taiwan

27,876

+7.6%

4.9%

7. Mexico

13,931

+6.6%

2.5%

8. Turkey

11,622

-6.8%

2.1%

9. Germany

8,829

+2.2%

1.6%

10. Thailand

8,765

+1.5%

1.6%


The University of Southern California maintained its position as the top destination for international students. Research universities generally top the list, given the high proportion of such students enrolled in graduate and professional programs. A location near the Pacific also helps, especially given the large numbers coming from Asia. In addition to Southern California, the top five master’s institutions are in California as are two of the top five community colleges. Among bachelor’s institutions, two are in Hawaii.

Top Destinations for International Students in the U.S., 2005-6
Rank and Institution

Foreign Enrollment

Research universities

 

1. U. of Southern California

6,881

2. Columbia U.

5,575

3. Purdue U., main campus

5,540

4. New York U.

5,502

5. U. of Texas at Austin

5,395

Master’s institutions

 

1. San Francisco State U.

2,016

2. California State U. at Northridge

1,693

3. California State U. at Long Beach

1,670

4. California State U. at Fullerton

1,593

5. San Jose State U.

1,565

Bachelor’s institutions

 

1. Brigham Young U. — Hawaii campus

1,141

2. SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology

1,018

3. Utah Valley State College

454

4. U. of Hawaii at Hilo

418

5. U. of Dallas

372

Community colleges

 

1. Houston Community College

3,227

2. Santa Monica College

2,658

3. Montgomery College (Md.)

2,179

4. De Anza College (Cal.)

2,112

5. CUNY Borough of Manhattan CC

1,679


Beyond examining the trends for international students in the United States, “Open Doors” also looks at American students who go abroad — although that is typically for a semester or year, not an entire degree program.
Experts on international education have generally had three goals for American students: getting more of them to abroad, getting them to look beyond Western Europe, and getting a broader cross-section of students to consider study abroad. This year’s data suggest progress on the first two goals.
Not only are the total numbers up, but there are good percentage increases for some non-European countries, and Britain, while still the top destination, is down slightly.

Top Destinations for Americans Studying Abroad, 2004-5
Rank and Country

American Enrollments

1-Year % Change

% of Americans Studying Abroad

1. Britain

32,071

-0.5%

15.6%

2. Italy

24,858

+13.4%

12.1%

3. Spain

20,806

+3.6%

10.1%

4. France

15,374

+12.1%

7.5%

5. Australia

10,813

-5.3%

5.2%

6. Mexico

9,244

-0.5%

4.5%

7. Germany

6,557

+9.6%

3.2%

8. China

6,389

+34.9%

3.1%

9. Ireland

5,083

-2.2%

2.5%

10. Costa Rica

4,887

+8.4%

2.4%

11. Japan

4,100

+10.6%

2.0%

12. Austria

2,757

+12.8%

1.3%

13. New Zealand

2,657

+12.2%

1.3%

14. Czech Republic

2,494

+19.4%

1.2%

15. Greece

2,445

+16.5%

1.2%

16. Chile

2,393

+12.1%

1.2%

17. South Africa

2,304

+14.7%

1.1%

18. Argentina

2,013

+53.1%

1.0%

19. Brazil

1,994

+28.3%

1.0%

20. India

1,767

+52.7%

0.9%

Blumenthal of the Institute of International Education said that she was encouraged by the large percentage increases to countries such as India, China and Argentina. “The large numbers are still going to the traditional sites, but the growth [in other places] says to me that people are seeing a professional advantage to having spent time in India or China,” she said.
Colleges should continue to look for ways to encourage such choices, she said. But it’s no failure any time an American student goes abroad — even to an English-speaking nation with many similarities to the United States. “I think anytime you can get anyone out of the United States and out of their own culture, it’s an important and powerful learning experience,” she said.
One disappointment to Blumenthal is the demographics of the American study abroad contingent. Just over 65 percent of participants are female, and 83 percent are white — proportions that have been relatively steady for a decade.
“Female students appear more willing to take time off,” she said.
Part of the reason, historically, has been that many science and engineering programs were lopsided with male enrollments, and these programs have historically sent few students abroad. For that reason, she said she was pleased by the new push at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to encourage more of its undergraduates to study abroad.
At the same time, she said that gender appeared to be an issue beyond disciplinary choice. Of engineering students who currently study abroad, far more are women than men, Blumenthal said.
The institute has been working with faculty members at historically black colleges, taking some of them on foreign trips to promote the idea that they should recruit their students for foreign programs.
“We need to do a better job of making students of color and their parents realize what’s possible,” she said.
With more of a national emphasis on international education, many colleges seek bragging rights about the percentage of their students who go abroad. IIE does a calculation and ranking — although the system (based on study abroad figures for a year and the number of graduates) results in some colleges with rankings indicating that more than 100 percent of undergraduates study abroad. But with the caveat that the comparisons are imperfect, here are the rankings.

College With Greatest Share of Undergraduates Abroad, 2004-5
Rank and Institution

Undergraduates Abroad

% of Undergraduates Who Study Abroad

Research universities

 

 

1. Yeshiva U.

637

76.7%

2. U. of Denver

640

68.7%

3. U. of St. Thomas (Minn.)

714

66.4%

4. Wake Forest U.

599

59.9%

5. Georgetown U.

981

58.7%

Master’s institutions

 

 

1. Elon U.

915

102.9%

2. Hamline U.

325

79.5%

3. U. of Evansville

306

67.7%

4. Warren Wilson College

101

65.6%

5. Arcadia U.

196

64.5%

Bachelor’s institutions

 

 

1. Austin College

341

110.0%

2. Kalamazoo College

283

99.3%

3. Centre College

252

97.7%

4. Wofford College

240

97.2%

5. Colby College

456

93.8%

Source: NAFSA: Association of International Educators.









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