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Taiwanese studying in US decrease nearly 22 percent over a decade

TAIPEI--Two separate U.S. reports on the international students studying in the United States show that the number of Taiwanese studying in the U.S. has dropped markedly in recent years.

The number of Taiwanese students in the U.S. amounted to 21,867 in the 2012-2013 school year, down 6,150, or approximately 22 percent, from 28,017 people in the 2002-2003 school year, according to Ministry of Education (MOE) statistics, which were compiled based on data from the U.S.'s Institute of International Education.

The MOE has attributed the decline to the facts that more and more university graduates have been pursuing master's or doctoral degrees at local academic institutes rather than overseas, while there has also been a decline in the number of U.S. scholarships available for Taiwanese students, the United Evening News reported.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, believes the drop is because the U.S. is no longer the top priority for Taiwanese students seeking higher education, according to the newspaper report.

Over the past several years, many Taiwanese people have preferred to go to Europe or Japan for their education, the ministry said.

According to a quarterly report on international students studying in the U.S. that was published May 7 under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program — part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations — there were 23,309 Taiwanese people studying in the U.S. as of April, a decrease of 2 percent from the January level.

Taiwan was in seventh place in the report among the top 10 countries with students in the U.S. — China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil, in the order.

Taiwan was the only Asian country among these 10 to have recorded a decline.

As of April 1, almost 1.02 million international students were enrolled in nearly 9,000 U.S. schools, marking a 2-percent increase from January, the report said.

Seventy-five percent of all the international students were from Asia, with 29 percent — nearly 300,000 people — from China, while Saudi Arabia and India had the greatest percentage increase at 10 and 8 percent, respectively, compared with the January statistics.

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