Chinese students are enrolling in U.S. universities in record numbers, encouraged by aggressive recruiting, combined with China's booming economy and growing middle class.
Enrollment grew by 8 percent in fall 2006 and by 20 percent last year, according to Institute of International Education figures being released today.
The spike was more than 400 percent at Ohio State University, the nation's largest campus, with 115 undergraduates from China compared with 20 last year.
The influx is part of a solid and welcomed rebound in the number of international students coming to the United States.
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India sent the most students, followed by China and South Korea. Enrollment from Saudi Arabia rose 25 percent, putting it back in the top 10 for the first time since 1982, thanks to a new Saudi government scholarship program.
A snapshot survey the institute did of campuses this fall found that 55 percent reported increases in students from China, the most from any country.
Kansas State enrolled 199 Chinese undergraduates, up from 65 last fall.
“There is a whole emerging middle class of Chinese, well over 300 million, many of them with one-child families who are interested in sending their son or daughter abroad with higher educational experience,” said Kansas State provost Duane Nellis.
International students and their families contribute more than $15 billion annually to the U.S. economy, says a separate survey by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, also being released today.