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Foreign student enrollment rising

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — New figures, scheduled to be released Monday, show international enrollment at US colleges and universities grew nearly 6 percent last year, driven by a 23 percent rise from China, even as total enrollment was leveling out.

But perhaps more revealing is where the growth is concentrated: big, public colleges, mostly in the Midwest.

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The numbers offer a snapshot of the transformation of America’s famous heartland public universities in an era 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.

All but one are public, and a large number come from the Big Ten: Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State, and the universities of Minnesota and Illinois. Indiana University’s foreign 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.

To be sure, such ambitious universities value the perspectives international students bring to Midwestern campuses. But there’s no doubt what else is driving the trend: International students typically pay full out-of-state tuition and are not awarded financial aid.

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