Saturday, June 27, 2009

It is time to reassert US leadership attracting foreign students

According to UNESCO:

More than 2.8 million students elected to study outside their own country in 2007. The largest number came from China (421,100), India (153,300), and the Republic of Korea (105,300). Their main destinations were the United States (595,900), the United Kingdom (351,500), and France (246,600).
The population of the United States is about 306 million. The populations of the United Kingdom and France are respectively about 60.8 million and 63.5 million. Thus the United Kingdom and France, with a joint population about 40 percent that of the United States, together attract more foreign students than does the United States.

Of course the former colonial powers have long established educational ties with their former colonies, but the United States is generally considered to have most of the world's greatest universities. The Bush administration's visa policies not only reduced the rate of increase of foreign enrollments in the United States, but actually made the enrollments decrease for a few years.

Now is the time to reassert the United States as the best place for students to seek international educational opportunities. The short term earnings from these students are nice, but the long term economic and political benefits of the ties they form are priceless!

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