From AP - News -

Record Number Of Foreign Students In US, U of I Ranks Second

Tight economies around the world haven't slowed down students who are crossing international borders in record numbers to pursue their studies. The University of Illinois ranks second in a new study.

The State Department and the Institute of International Education shows the U of I's flagship Urbana campus was listed as the second most popular destination for foreign students, behind only the University of Southern California.  

The two schools also ranked first and second a year ago, based on 2011 admissions.

Purdue University ranked third in this year's report, and Indiana University ranked 13th.

The Open Doors Report, released Monday showed hundreds of thousands of Chinese students have helped push the number of foreign students studying in America to all-time highs.

"We (the U of I) has had a pretty rich history with relationships with students from China that goes back 100 years," said U of I spokeswoman Robin Kaler.  "I think those original students who came here had a good experience, told their family and friends about it, and others came.  I think that's just created a pipeline, if you will, that has grown over the years."

Bryan Endres is the U of I’s Interim Associate Provost for International Affairs.  

He said one of the top goals on the Urbana campus is increasing diversity for everyone, but there are other objectives within the U of I’s three year Strategic Plan to integrate those students.

“Some of the themes that emerged – especially from Visioning Future Excellence was social equality and cultural understanding – along with economic development and health and wellness.  But if we focus just on social equality and cultural understanding, that’s something that we’re trying to put some emphasis on on the campus," he said.

Admissions records for the 2012-2013 school year show the U of I brought in 9,804 international students in the last school year.

The Institute of International Education has done the Open Doors report since 1954.  Figures are now at an all-time high, with more than 21 million international students attending U.S. schools. Endres said the U of I has figured prominently for most of its history. 

Similarly, more U.S. students than ever are studying abroad, although the raw number is lower and they tend to do much shorter stints than students coming to the United States.