Over the past few years, the number of Chinese international students at U.S. universities has increased dramatically.
According to the student enrollment reports at the University of Illinois, 1,118 students are from China.
Julie Misa, director at the International Student and Scholar Service, said Chinese students see a the U.S. as a great place to study.
“It’s a national trend and we’re hearing about that from other universities as well and its due to the fact that there are a lot of Chinese students in general who are interested in studying and getting their post secondary degree, and the United States is a attractive destination for students wanting to study,” she said
The University also has an excellent reputation in China, another possible reason for the influx of students.
Dr. Wolfgang Schlör, Interim Associate Provost for International Affairs, cited this reputation to the University’s long-standing relationship with China.
“Illinois as a university became engaged in China very early on, in the first part of the 20th century, and Illinois faculty were involved in establishing Janguai University which is one of the best universities in China,” Schlör said. “Many Chinese graduate students, especially before the Chinese revolution, came to Illinois to get their Ph.D. If you go to china now, its more likely that people know about Illinois than they know about Princeton or Yale,” Schlör said.
One of the biggest reasons why Illinois and other universities around the country have seen an influx in Chinese students is the lack of higher education facilities for China’s growing population.
“There just isn’t enough capacity, even though China has worked on improving and expanding their higher education sector,” Schlör said.
Sue Trippiedi, Director of the University of Illinois China Executive Leadership Programs said the “first thing” many of the individuals who go through the Leadership Program think about is “they want their child to go to the University of Illinois.”
“We have a huge presence in China and we are very well known because of the number of students that end up coming here,” Trippiedi said.
The number of Chinese international students will continue to increase for a while, said Trippiedi. Schlör said the numbers will eventually level off because of the single child policy in China, but when that will begin to take affect, no one can say.