Taiwanese 7th largest group studying in US

Taiwan ranks as the 7th largest source of international college exchange students in the US

Sign reads "American Dream. Study Abroad." (Image by National Sun Yat-sen University)

Sign reads "American Dream. Study Abroad." (Image by National Sun Yat-sen University)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan is the 7th largest source of students attending universities in the United States, according a report by the Institute of International Education released on Monday.

According to the newest Open Doors report for the 2016-2017 academic year, U.S. colleges and universities saw a record high of 1.08 million international students, however the number of new students declined for the first time in 12 years by three percent. Of the total number of international students, Taiwanese composed the 7th largest nationality at 21,516, or about 2 percent of foreign students, a 1.8 percent increase from the previous academic year.

The top spot was taken by China, with 350,000 students, or 32.5 percent of all international students in the U.S. However, India, which is in second place with 186,267, is rapidly gaining ground with the largest growth of any nationality for the third year in a row. The two countries combined now account for about 50 percent of all international students in the U.S.

Taiwanese economic rival, South Korea, is in third place with 61,007, despite decreasing by 3.8 percent since last year. Saudi Arabia and Canada round out the top five, while Vietnam took the sixth spot with 922 more students than Taiwan.

Japan trailed Taiwan in eighth place, with 2,736 fewer students, a 1.5 percent drop from the previous period, while 389 more of their Taiwanese counterparts attended colleges in the US this year.

The top five states which host international students are California, with 156,879, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois. The top cities for foreign students were New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Dallas. The top five universities with the most international students were New York University, University of Southern California, Columbia University, Northeastern University, and Arizona State.

Foreign students contributed $39 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, a significant increase over the $35 billion seen in 2015.

The affinity Asian nationals have for U.S. colleges is not reciprocated by their American counterparts, with the top five countries of choice for American students all European: The UK, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. The latter having overtaken China as the fifth largest destination for American students, after enrollment there dropped by 9 percent, while Americans choosing Germany went up by 8.1 percent.