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Purdue's international student population 2nd largest among U.S. public universities

France A. Córdova
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Purdue University has the second largest international student population among U.S. public universities and places fifth overall, according to a recent Institute of International Education report.

Purdue enrolled 5,479 international students this fall, and 56 percent of these students are pursuing graduate degrees. The university's all-time high mirrors a national trend in which the number of international students at colleges and universities across the country increased by 7 percent to a record 623,805 in the 2007-08 academic year, according to the report.

"International students enrich the social and cultural fabric of a university campus," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "We're proud to host nearly 5,500 students from about 120 countries. Our international students and alumni are the university's best ambassadors to the world."

Among all public and private universities, the University of Southern California has the largest international student population at 7,189. New York University is second with 6,404 international students. In addition to Purdue, other universities among the top five include Columbia University with 6,297 students and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with 5,933 students.

In the 2007-08 academic year, international students studying in the United States contributed more than $15.5 billion to the U.S. economy, according to the "Open Doors" report by the Institute of International Education. The 15,502 international students studying in Indiana in the 2007-08 academic year added $367.7 million to the state's economy. A third of them attended Purdue.

"Not only do international students impact the Indiana economy, their presence impacts academic success for everyone," said Provost Randy Woodson. "These students are among the best in their countries, and this raises the academic aspirations for all of our students, preparing them to participate effectively in the world economy.

"While there is great interest in Purdue from abroad because of the quality of our programs - both graduate and undergraduate, we also are working to prepare and attract more qualified Indiana and domestic students."

For the seventh consecutive year, students from India comprise the highest number of international students at Purdue and around the nation. China and South Korea round out the report's top three, said Mike Brzezinski, associate dean of International Programs and director of the Office of International Students and Scholars at Purdue. The other countries in the top 10 at Purdue include Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Canada, Turkey and Japan.

"Globalization is fundamental to Purdue's strategic plan," Brzezinski said. "We also are emphasizing the need for our U.S.-born students to include time abroad during their academic experience."

According to the "Open Doors" report, California remains the leading host state with 84,800 international students. Indiana ranks 10th with an 8 percent increase from the previous year's report.

Across the nation, business and management and engineering continued to remain the two most popular fields for international students, the report showed. This concurs with trends at Purdue, where international students primarily choose business and management, engineering, and agriculture as their areas of study.

"Open Doors" is published by the New York-based Institute of International Education with support from the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The survey includes almost 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions and has been conducted every year since 1949.

The annual report was released during International Education Week, which is being observed at higher educational institutions nationwide.

Writer: Soumitro Sen, (765) 496-9711,

Sources: France A. Córdova, (765) 494-9708

Randy Woodson, (765) 494-8392,

Mike Brzezinski, (765) 494-7084,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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