The number of international students coming to the United States for high school is leveling off after years of rapid growth, according to a new study released Wednesday.
Researchers at the nonprofit Institute of International Education in Washington say growth is slowing as students find more education opportunities in their home countries and abroad. But the United States remains a top study destination for international students, researchers say.
‘‘The numbers have been growing at slower rates each year, but there’s still definitely interest and growth in international students coming to earn a high school diploma in the US,’’ said Christine Farrugia, author of the new study.
American high schools enrolled nearly 82,000 international students last year, the study found, more than triple the number from 2004. From 2012 to 2013 alone, the number increased 8 percent, but by last year the annual growth rate had fallen to 1 percent.
Much of the shift has been driven by students from China, who accounted for 42 percent of all international students at American high schools last year. Although their numbers surged in 2013 and 2014, researchers found, the growth began to taper off in 2016.
It reflects a similar slowdown of Chinese students coming to US colleges and universities, which some experts blame on China’s cooled economy and increasing competition from schools in Australia and other nations.
US high schools have also drawn large numbers of students from South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, Spain, and Mexico.