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Open Doors report shows more Sri Lankan students studying in US

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The number of Sri Lankan students studying at US colleges and universities rose to 3,080 students, an increase of 6.9% compared to the 2014-2015 academic year, according to the latest 2016 ‘Open Doors’ report. In total, the number of international students in US colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-16 academic year to a new high of nearly 1,044,000. This strong growth confirms the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education. “International education helps people develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy, and creates networks across borders that improve international understanding and strengthen the national security of the United States,” said US Embassy to Sri Lanka and Maldives Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Hilton.

The Embassy of the United States to Sri Lanka has stressed a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum as essential for Sri Lankan students at home and abroad to facilitate the country’s development. 50% of Sri Lankan students studying in the United States are pursuing graduate degrees up to the doctoral level, while 16% are engaged in postdegree Optional Practical Training, which allows international graduate students in the STEM fields to engage in professional training for up to 29 months following graduation. The US Embassy, in cooperation with the US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission, on Saturday hosted a number of events in honour of International Education Week (IEW), culminating with a free education outreach fair at the Longdon Room in the Taj Samudra for parents and students interested in opportunities to study in the United States.

There are now 85% more international students studying at US colleges and universities than were reported a decade ago, and this marks the 10th consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in US higher education. International students now constitute just over 5% of the more than 20 million students enrolled in US higher education, up from around 4% in previous years. The Open Doors report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The release of this new data marks the celebration of IEW 14-18 November, a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the US Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

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