OPEN DOORS 2012
880 BELGIAN STUDENTS STUDYING AT UNITED STATES COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
More American students studying in Belgium
Brussels, November 12, 2012— According to Open Doors 2012, the annual report on international academic mobility published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, the number of Belgian students enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education in 2011/12 decreased from 904 to 880, a 2.65% percent decrease compared to the previous year. This number represents a slight decline after last year’s drastic increase from 845 to 904, but the relationship of Belgian students in the U.S. remains strong with an overall increase of 8.4% in the past four academic years. International education continues to create a positive economic and social impact for communities in the United States and around the world.
This year’s Open Doors report shows that the total number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by six percent to 764,495 during the 2011/12 academic year. This represents a record high number of international students in the United States. The strong increase in international student enrollments shows the continued conviction of international students (and parents) that a U.S. degree is a sound investment in their future careers, a finding reinforced by results of recent IIE surveys of students overseas considering studying outside their own countries.
This 2011/12 data marks the sixth consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education; there are 31 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than there were a decade ago. A similar increase in the number of “new” international students, those enrolling for the first time at a U.S. college or university in fall 2012, indicates that this growth trend is continuing. New enrollments in 2011 were up seven percent from the prior year. Despite this strong growth, international students still constitute less than four percent of total U.S. higher education enrollment.
The growth is largely driven by strong increases in the number of students from China, particularly at the undergraduate level. Chinese student enrollments increased by 23 percent in total and by 31 percent at the undergraduate level. Large increases in undergraduate students from Saudi Arabia, funded by Saudi government scholarships, also help explain why international undergraduates studying in the U.S. now outnumber international graduate students, for the first time in 12 years.
Students from around the world who study in the United States have a positive economic impact on the U.S. economy, and they also contribute to America’s scientific and technical research and bring international perspectives into U.S. classrooms, helping prepare American undergraduates for global careers, and often lead to longer-term business relationships and economic benefits.
According to Christopher Medalis, Regional Director for EducationUSA in Europe, “data from this year’s Open Doors report demonstrates that the U.S. higher education system continues to be highly attractive to European students, with a 1.3% increase in European mobility to the U.S. over the past year, thanks to our system’s diversity, breadth, depth, and flexibility.” Another contributing factor is greater access to comprehensive and accurate information about study in the U.S. through EducationUSA advising offices in Belgium and an increased level activity by United States colleges and universities to attract students from Belgium. During 2011-2012, the EducationUSA office in Belgium – commonly referred to as “Fulbright Belgium” – provided over 70 presentations about study in the United States to local high schools, hogeschools, haute ecoles, and universities throughout Belgium. The Fulbright Belgium office also sponsored 41 Belgians to continue their academic pursuits in the United States during this year.
“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “International education creates strong, lasting relationships between the U.S. and emerging leaders worldwide. Students return home with new perspectives and a global skill set that will allow them to build more prosperous, stable societies.”
“Academic and intellectual exchange fuels innovation and prepares the next generation for global citizenship,” IIE’s Dr. Allan Goodman said. “Today’s students will become future business and government leaders whose international experience will equip them to build a prosperous and more peaceful world.”
Host States and Campuses:
This increased international presence has been felt across the United States, with the top 20 host universities and nine of the top ten host states with more international students than in the prior year. California hosted more than 100,000 international students for the first time this year, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois. Among the top 10 destinations, Pennsylvania, Florida and Indiana had the largest percent increases, with the international student population in each state growing by close to 10 percent. At the institutional level, the University of Southern California has the greatest number of international students, followed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, New York University, Purdue University and Columbia University. New York City remains the top metropolitan area for international students.
U.S. Students Studying Abroad
Looking at the reverse side of the student mobility picture, Open Doors also reported that 1,374 American students studied in Belgium in the 2010/11 academic year, an increase of 10.5 percent. With its location at the heart of the European Union, American universities and their students continue to show an interest in studies abroad in Belgium. The Vesalius Internship Program (VIP) at Vesalius College allows American exchange students to intern at professional venues in Brussels and contributes to the success of the current figures.
In the 2010/11 academic year, 273,996 American students studied abroad for academic credit, an increase of one percent–an all-time high. U.S. students studying abroad increased in 17 of the top 25 destination countries. Five percent more students studied in China and 12 percent more students studied in India than in the prior year. Open Doors 2012 reports that the United Kingdom remains the leading destination for American students, followed by Italy, Spain, France and China – which remained the fifth largest host destination for the fifth year. Almost 55% of U.S. students studied in Europe, though there were significant increases in the number of Americans studying in several “non-traditional” destinations outside Europe: Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, and South Korea, as well as within Europe: Bulgaria, Finland, Poland, Portugal, and Slovenia. More Americans also studied in some of the top European destinations, with nine percent more studying in Italy, and smaller increases in study abroad to Austria, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Based on the steady increase in Open Doors numbers, American students have continually shown that they remain interested in getting international experience. Many campus leaders remain committed to ensuring that large numbers of their students have an international experience before graduating, and Open Doors reported that 33 campuses had study abroad participation rates of more than 70 percent of their student body.
In an effort to increase study abroad to strategic priority countries, in Fiscal Year 2012 the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awarded ten grants to expand capacity of American institutions to send U.S. students abroad and the capacity of host institutions overseas to receive them. According to IIE’s Center for International Partnerships, U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly looking to form innovative partnerships with campuses abroad to enable more of their students to study in one another’s countries, and to encourage collaboration among faculty and researchers. They are developing new study abroad programs, with strategic links to the institutions’ international goals and curriculum.
International Education Week
International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education to celebrate the influence of student mobility on global peace and mutual understanding. To celebrate the exchange of students between the United States of America and Belgium, EducationUSA Belgium has organized and publicized several educational events, including Fulbright finalist interviews; recording sessions with Lawrence University and Knox, Franklin & Marshall, and Washington & Jefferson Colleges for EducationUSA Belgium’s online advising channel (www.youtube.com/fulbrightbe); EducationUSA’s virtual advising fair (http://goo.gl/ISSFq); and a presentation about post-doctoral positions in the United States with Dr. Peter Fiske, author of Put Your Science to WORK! A Take-Charge Career Guide for Scientists, at the University of Leuven on November 14, 2012. For more information about upcoming events, interested persons should refer to www.fulbright.be.
Fast Facts Open Doors 2012: http://www.fulbright.be/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Fast-Facts-2012-Open-Doors.pdf
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The Open Doors Report is published by the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since 1919, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. Open Doors also reports on numbers of international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad. A full press kit and further details on the Open Doors 2012 surveys and their findings is on the Open Doors website, and the full 120 page report can be ordered for $69.95 from IIE Books.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State leads a wide range of academic, professional, and cultural exchanges that include approximately 40,000 participants annually, including the Fulbright Fellowships and Scholarships and the International Visitor Leadership Program, with the goal of increasing mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. ECA sponsors the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for U.S. undergraduates with financial need, administered by IIE, and also manages the EducationUSA network of advising offices, providing information to students around the world who wish to study in the United States. For more information on the Department of State’s educational and cultural exchange activities, visit www.exchanges.state.gov.
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