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14 November 2017, 12:40 | Darnell Patrick
Indian students accounted for 17.3% of the total foreign students in the US in 2016-17
At the same time, he conceded that it was "critical for USA institutions to set strategic goals and be proactive in reaching out to students and families in a wide range of countries in the coming year, and for the United States to keep its academic doors open to students from all over the world".
"Many colleges have sent top officials overseas this year to reassure incoming and potential students, and they have launched a social-media campaign called "#YouAreWelcomeHere".
Overall, China and India, between them make up 50 per cent of the 1.08 million foreign students on American campuses - an all-time high.
Over half (52 percent) of institutions report that they are anxious that the perceptions of prospective global students will be impacted, and that the current USA social and political climate could be a deterrent to US study, the institute said.
The growth rate of students from India, however, decreased from 24.9 per cent in the previous academic year to 12 per cent in 2016-17. This number also includes recent graduates who obtained employment eligibility in the United States and who are still affiliated with the university. While this year's Open Doors report shows strong growth in the number of worldwide students studying in the USA in the past decade, with an increase of 85% since 2006/07 the new findings signal that the increase is 3% compared to increases of 7% to 10% for the previous three years. The Chinese total surpassed 350,000 in fall 2016, up 7 percent from the previous year. The University of Southern California, Columbia University and Northeastern University - all private institutions - ranked second, third and fourth on the overall list.
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The colleges cited several factors in declining enrollment, including competition from other countries, the cost of USA higher education, visa delays or denials, and an uncertain US social and political climate, the institute said. This is almost double from 564,766 in 2005-06. The top states all saw an increase this year.
The one positive news from 2016 is that more foreign students are staying in the United States after they finish their degrees to continue learning through internship programs called "optional practical training".
USA colleges and universities, for the second straight year, hosted a record high of 1.08 million worldwide students in 2016-17. The institute's separate tally of data from about 500 colleges and universities found a 7 percent drop in enrollment of first-time students this fall.
Global students brought 39 billion U.S. dollars to the American economy in 2016, through their spending on tuition, room and board, and living expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"International student exchange is an essential contributor to America's economic competitiveness and national security".
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