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Good new for the US: IIE’S Open Doors report

The future of inflow of foreign students to the US looks bright, at least according to the recently released findings of the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) annual Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange. According to the IIE press release entitled International student enrollment in the US rebounds, total foreign student enrollment increased 3% in 2006/7 to 582,984. This is comforting to both the US higher education sector and the US foreign service as the post 9/11 foreign student dip provoked a concerted effort to soften the image of the US as a study destination and ease student visa procedures.

Open Doors reports on surveys of international scholars at U.S. universities and international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs, and on U.S. students studying abroad, Highlights for 2007 include the following:

  • there were strong increases in enrolments from the top three sending countries to the US: India, China, and Korea;
  • enrollments from the Middle East increased by 25%, with particular increases from Saudi Arabia;
  • California is the top host state of foreign students and New York City is the top host city;
  • business and management is the top field of study for foreign students in the US.

The Open Doors report is based on a survey of 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions and is funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. In many senses, it has recently become a measurement tool for diplomacy. Weary of the importance of keeping ‘open doors, secure borders’, incoming foreign service classes have followed required training on the importance of international education. The US State and Education Departments have also been spear-heading mission trips of university presidents and government officials around the world to encourage student exchange.

Open Doors press releases and facts sheets