Universities Seek International Students

Idea

US colleges and universities are trying to attract foreign students. For example, five years ago, Indiana University had 87 undergraduates from China on its campus in Bloomington. This year there are 2,224.

Foreign enrollment at U.S. universities and colleges grew by 6 percent last year, with a 23-percent increase from China. But perhaps most interestingly is where this growth is concentrated: big, public land-grant colleges, notably in the Midwest.

These numbers show the transformation of America's famous heartland public universities as a result of diminished state support. Of the 25 campuses with the most international students, a dozen have increased international enrollment more than 40 percent in just five years, according to data collected by the Institute of International Education.

Almost all are public, and a striking number come from the Big Ten: Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State and the Universities of Minnesota and Illinois. Indiana's international enrollment now surpasses 6,000, or about 15 percent of the student body, and in Illinois, the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus has nearly 9,000 — second nationally only to the University of Southern California.