For the 11th year in a row, the University of Southern California enrolled the most international students of any U.S. college or university in the 2011-12 school year as rising numbers of Chinese students pursued American education, according to a new study.

USC hosted 9,269 foreign students, up about 7 percent from the year before, according to the annual report by the Institute of International Education, in partnership with the U.S. State Department.

Other schools in the top 10 were the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, New York University, Purdue University, Columbia University, the University of California-Los Angeles, Northeastern University, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan State University and Ohio State University.

The Open Doors study, released Monday, showed that the overall number of international undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. campuses rose 5.7 percent last year to 764,495. China sent the largest group, 194,029, a 23.1 percent increase, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey.

USC, which recruits strongly in Asia, was badly shaken in April when two Chinese graduate students were slain in a botched robbery near campus. As a result, some education experts said USC might suffer a decline in Chinese enrollment this fall despite the school's efforts to inform Chinese students about increased security measures.

But USC reported increases this fall in both its overall numbers of full-time foreign students, up 9 percent over last year, and Chinese students, up 20 percent. (The Open Doors study covers an earlier period and includes part-time students and other groups.)

USC's dean of admission, Timothy Brunold, said the slayings received widespread coverage in Chinese media and that USC addressed the incident directly in communications with accepted students last spring. USC "acknowledged the weight of the terrible incident" and detailed extra anti-crime efforts by city and campus police, he said.

In the aftermath of an on-campus shooting Halloween night that wounded four, none of them USC students, the school last week announced additional security measures, including restricting late-night entrance to campus.

(c)2012 Los Angeles Times

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