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Sharp Drop in Middle Eastern Students Coming to US - 2003-11-04

The Institute of International Education says that the number of students from the Middle East studying in the Unites States is down 10 percent from last year. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait each sent 25 percent fewer students.

Allan Goodman, head of the Institute of International Education, said stricter immigration rules may be scaring away some students. "The world economy and the rising cost of education will discourage some people from coming here, and the perception that it is difficult to get a visa will discourage others," he said.

Thirteen of the 20 countries that send the most students saw declines in enrollment for the 2002-2003 school year.

Some countries saw increases, including India, which grew 12 percent. The majority of foreign students coming to America to study, 74,000, are from India. Korea and Kenya also sent more students than last year.

The New York City area hosts more international students than any other metropolitan area in the United States. More than 5,400 foreign students attended New York University last year. Just over 5,000 enrolled at Columbia University. The University of Southern California continues to be the most popular destination for foreigners, with over 6,000 international students.