America beckons foreign students more than ever

They consider a degree from a US college essential to succeeding in the global job market.

By Bruce Kennedy Jun 12, 2013 10:50AM

Student in classroom (© StockByte/PictureQuest)How many foreign students have you known? Were they in classes with you as you grew up, or are they in local schools now with your children and your neighbors' kids? Can you think of American movies and TV shows in which international students play prominent (albeit usually comedic) roles?

America has a long tradition of hosting students from all over the world, a testament to the flexibility of the nation's culture, economy and academic traditions. After 9/11, many people were concerned that tradition would end, for both political and economic reasons. But it turns out foreign students are still coming to America in record numbers.

Late last year, the Institute of International Education reported an all-time high number of foreign students -- more than 764,000 -- came to study at U.S. colleges and universities during the 2011-12 academic year. Of those exchange students, 70% were funded by sources outside the U.S., and they ended up contributing $22.7 billion to America's economy.

The IEE report found "the continued conviction of international students (and parents) that a U.S. degree is a sound investment in their future careers." And that seems true even in European countries with their own hallowed academic traditions.

For example, International Business Times reports that, despite the relatively inexpensive cost of higher education in France, a record number of more than 8,200 French students came to the U.S. last year to advance their studies. And the number of French students studying in the U.S. has climbed by nearly 17% over the past seven years.

Economics is a leading reason. Like much of Europe, France is mired in recession, and jobs there are hard to come by, especially for young adults. But the French students interviewed say they're coming to the States to give themselves a competitive advantage in an increasingly globalized job market.

Indeed, foreigners who in the past might have gone to France or the U.K. are choosing to study at American schools. "I had the opportunity to go to Paris instead," Alara Alkin, who studied at a French-language school in her native Turkey, recently told The New York Times. "But French is dying, and America is alive." Alkin said she expects to study chemical and biological engineering at Philadelphia's Drexel University next year.

The U.S is also seen as more open to international students than many other countries. For the first time in a dozen years, the IIE says, "international undergraduates studying in the United States now outnumber international graduate students."

At the same time, the U.S. is sending more college students outside of its borders to study. The IIE says nearly 274,000 Americans studied abroad during the 2010-11 academic year -- an all-time high and a 1% increase over the previous year.

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Why would these foreign students want to come here to learn socialism?  They can do that in their own countries for less money.

Jun 12, 2013 12:40PM
Jun 12, 2013 7:07PM
Tax PAYERS think twice before voting for a increase in School Tax.  In California Gov. Brown promised the money would go to the schools.  Reality, middle class neighborhoods get significant less tax dollars than low income area's.  We pay for the bond issue and never see the money.  Our university systems are welcoming students from other states and foreign students when our children can't get into college here.  NEVER again will I support a school tax or bond issue.
Jun 12, 2013 4:50PM
It's ironic. These unversities are pushing sustainabilty and climate change awareness, yet they fly these students in from around the world. Makes no sense.
Jun 12, 2013 3:16PM

     If we allow them to come here they must understand this is American! Our culture our customs, Merry Christmas!  If you are offended to bad, Leave!  No foot washing inside buildings if it is a christian school there will be Christian art and effects, if you do not like it do not come!!  Our leaders and the laws must be changed to allow American culture to stay as it is and not be changed just because some Muslium is offended!

    If they stay to earn a masters or PHD and teach in lue of payment then they must speak "clear" English!!

   The only way they stay after there visa runs out is to have something to contribute to OUR culture of business. We have enough of the dead weight "takers" of our own that contribute nothing but liberal votes in order to keep there benefits!  They are called progressive socialist liberal democrats!!  They are as much a enemy to freedom as the Musliums are!


Jun 13, 2013 4:05PM
About 30,000 J1 visa exchange students will soon arrive in the U.S.  Did you know that likelihood of these visiting teens being placed in a home with barely enough food to feed the family, let alone an exchange student is very high?   Students placed with a convicted felon or registered sex offender remains rampant.  Many students may find themselves sleeping on a pool table, couch or sleeping bag in a musty garage or basement; forced to keep quiet about it.  What an impression of America they will have.

Jun 12, 2013 12:53PM

"At the same time, the U.S. is sending more college students outside of its borders to study. The IIE says nearly 274,000 Americans studied abroad during the 2010-11 academic year -- an all-time high and a 1% increase over the previous year".


I have known several people who have sent their kids overseas to study.  My dentist just sent her kid to Germany to study.  Much cheaper.


You know what the real problem with this is?  Many of those kids will end up staying where they are.  I had an aunt who went to Paris 30 years ago for a summer vacation and she never came back.  Heh!

Jun 20, 2013 4:55PM
The real problem is that there is no oversight in this industry.  Please watch the seven minute Rock Center with Brian Williams Report entitled, "Cultures Shocked" released last year in March; which  uncovers the truth and dark side of the student exchange industry.  Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland with her soft voice and head tilted to the side said we must get to zero tolerance when it comes to abuse and neglect of these students.  Ya think?  If you, too, think this should be a no brainer, send an email to Ms. Anna Schecter of NBC and tell her that you're ready to see a Cultures Shocked Part Two:  Email address is:  Copy your email to Ms. Schecter to and we will forward your response directly President Obama.  We must hold Spokesperson Nuland accountable for her weak response.  Visit website to learn more.  And, thank you.
Jun 12, 2013 6:01PM
If they can afford it why not take their money?
Jun 13, 2013 2:50PM
You and I end up paying for them. Make them stay home without paying the full tuition. No scholarships.
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