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Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Students 'should study abroad'
students
9% of US college students travel abroad to study
More United States college students should be studying abroad, according to the Education Secretary, Richard Riley.

He says the US should also be encouraging more foreign students to study at US colleges, as promoting international education is essential to "future global co-operation and understanding".

"Many more American college students need to see the world with a new set of eyes. And the best way for them to see the world as it really is, is to study overseas," he said.

"The United States has much to learn, as well as gain, by such an engagement with the world."

Funding

Currently, 9% of US college students - about 114,000 - travel abroad each year to study at foreign universities.

Mr Riley told an audience of diplomats and educators at the French Embassy that he wanted to at least double that number.

On Wednesday, President Clinton issued an executive memorandum directing federal agencies to promote study abroad by US students, with scholarships and other programmes.

Mr Riley has called for more funding for various international schemes, including teaching foreign languages to US students, sending more minority students to study overseas, and examining how and why other countries outperform the US in maths and science.

He added that the US should also promote schemes to attract foreign undergraduate and graduate students.

Concerns

In 1997/8, the number of foreign students coming to study in the US rose by 2%, to nearly 500,000, compared with a rise of nearly 5% the previous year.

The decline in growth has sparked concerns that the US might lose promising students to competing countries such as the UK, Australia, Canada and France.

"These students bring at lease $9bn per year to our economy, and they enrich our campuses and communities in non-economic ways too.

"Other nationals are working very hard to make their exchange opportunities more attractive, more accessible and less costly. We should not be resting on our laurels."

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