The market for international scholarships is exploding, with more foreign students enrolled in the United States than at any other time in history. Most come here to study business—they bring what they’ve learned here home or they stay and set up shop. Either way it can only be in the long-term interests of the United States economy.

California is the most popular host state by far, with the University of Southern California being the top host college. Just how many foreign students are currently matriculating at USC? A whopping 7,987, many of them the beneficiary of international scholarships.

In all there are 690,923 foreign students studying in America right now. The vast majority are studying business, management, and engineering.

It’s expensive to study in a foreign land and international scholarships often help ends meet. By many standards the United States offers a very affordable higher education. Then you look at the lower cost of living in countries like Mexico and China and you wonder how they would do it without international scholarships.

Speaking of China, as other countries have cut back in sending students to the United States—notably Japan and Mexico—China has pushed forward and even increased its number and share of students here. 2010 saw an eighteen percent increase in Chinese students in the U.S. that brings the grand total of Chinese students studying here to 128,000.

Joining China in the top three countries sending students to the U.S. are India and South Korea. These three countries combine for forty four percent of the total number of students. The next three are Japan, Taiwan and Canada—each of them contributing four percent to the total.

Nearly fifty two percent of American colleges saw enrollment increases by foreign students. International scholarships can be particularly helpful to the 293,885 students here for graduate level studies.

Besides California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois are the top five states where foreign students enroll in college. Many of these students receive financial aid from one of the most popular international scholarships: the Fulbright Scholarship.

The Fulbright Scholarship also sponsors American students going to study in other countries. The program gives out over 8,000 grants every year with 155 countries participating.

You get a sense of just how successful the Fulbright scholarship program has been when you consider that since it was established in 1946, 300,000 people have participated. From those ranks, forty three alumni have won Nobel Peace Prizes and seventy eight have won Pulitzer Prizes. Elena Kagan, a recent addition to the United States Supreme Court, was a Fulbright Scholar.

Like many programs with international scholarships, the Fulbright Scholarship program began as a way to build mutual understanding and to humanize world affairs. At least this was the wish of Senator William Fulbright, the scholarship’s namesake.

As these international cultural and educational exchanges continue, Mr. Fulbright’s dream seems attainable. There are 690,923 students in the United States who would not have it any other way.

New York University. Study abroad.

Since its inception, the Fulbright Scholarship program has seen 300,000 students, teachers and professionals go through its program. Each year about 8,000 grants are awarded.

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