Two reports on foreign students in the US show that fewer Taiwanese are choosing the country as a study-abroad destination, media outlets and US data said.
A total of 21,867 Taiwanese students were in the US for the school year from 2012 to last year, down 6,150 or about 22 percent from 28,017 people in the 2002-to-2003 school year, according to Ministry of Education statistics based on data from the US’ Institute of International Education.
The ministry attributed the decline to Taiwanese students’ increased pursuit of master’s or doctoral degrees at local schools rather than overseas, alongside a decline in the number of US scholarships available for Taiwanese students, the Chinese-language United Evening News reported.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes the drop is because the US is no longer the top priority for Taiwanese students seeking higher education, United Evening News said.
Over the past several years, many Taiwanese students have preferred to go to Europe or Japan for their education, the foreign ministry said.
A quarterly report on international students studying in the US that was published on Wednesday last week under the US Student and Exchange Visitor Program — part of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security department — said that there were 23,309 Taiwanese studying in the US as of last month, a decrease of 2 percent from the January level.
The report ranked Taiwan seventh among the top 10 countries with students in the US. China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada are the top five.
Taiwan was the only Asian country among these 10 to have recorded a decline.
As of April 1, about 1.02 million international students were enrolled in nearly 9,000 US schools, marking a 2 percent increase from January, the report said.
Asia is home to 75 percent of the students, with 29 percent — nearly 300,000 people — from China, while Saudi Arabia and India had the greatest increases at 10 and 8 percent respectively, compared with the January statistics.
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