Chinese student population growing at Indiana University

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — More international students at Indiana University are coming from China than any other country.

Data from the university shows 3,100 Chinese students were enrolled on the Bloomington campus in 2014, the latest statistics available. The campus had 8,684 international students overall, meaning Chinese students make up nearly 36 percent of all international students.

South Korea was second in the number of students on campus with 814, followed by India with 713, Taiwan with 174 and Canada with 109.

An analysis of 20 years of data on international students by the Herald-Times ( found South Koreans were the largest group of international students from 1995 to 2009. The Chinese student population rose significantly after Michael McRobbie became IU's president in 2007 — more than 23 percent that year.

Despite McRobbie's emphasis on expanding IU's international relations, the growth in the Chinese student population has more to do with economics than recruiting efforts and is part of a national trend, according to John Wilkerson, the university's director of international admissions. About the same time that Chinese students became the largest group of international students at IU, they also became the largest group of international students nationwide.

A report released in November by the Institute of International Education, in partnership with the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said the number of foreign exchange students studying at U.S. colleges and universities reached a record high in 2014, with nearly one-third coming from China.

A growing middle class in China has led to a generation of students who have the means to attend top-tier universities, Wilkerson said, but there aren't enough spots in China's top universities to accommodate all those students.

"They want a top university, and they're willing to travel," he said.

Wilkerson also points to economics as the reason for fewer South Korean students since 2011, as the country's economy started to decline.

Because of the growing Chinese student population, Asian American Today has launched a Chinese-language newspaper in Bloomington called Blooming Times. Mu Yu, president and editor in chief, said the biweekly newspaper will be published from August to May each year.

The city of Bloomington also has noticed the difference. Sustainability Coordinator Jacqui Bauer said the city has started printing brochures in Chinese for certain programs.

"It helps catch the eye of a totally different group of people," she said.


Information from: The Herald Times,

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