RICHMOND, Va. — The number of international students attending Virginia colleges and universities has grown slightly in the span of a year, according to a study released Monday.

The nonprofit Institute of International Education said there were nearly 15,170 foreign-born college students enrolled in the state in the 2011-12 school year, up less than 1 percent from the year earlier. The number ranks Virginia 14th in the nation.

Virginia Tech in Blacksburg had 2,578 foreign-born students, the most in the state, according to the study. George Mason University in Fairfax had 2,159, followed by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville with 2,141, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond with 1,647, and Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale with 1,446.

Virginia Tech led the way in terms of state growth, with the number of foreign-born students up about 6 percent. The greatest drop was at VCU, where the number fell about 8 percent.

According to the report, students from China comprise nearly 19 percent of the state’s foreign-born enrollment, followed by India at more than 13 percent, South Korea with about 11 percent, Saudi Arabia with more than 6 percent and Vietnam with 3 percent.

And the amount of money spent by foreign students in the state grew nearly 5 percent to $405.4 million, according to an economic analysis cited by the study.

It also showed the number of students from Virginia studying abroad through institutions in the state fell about 6 percent to 8,283 in the 2010-11 school year, the latest year available.

The 2012 Open Doors report found the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities rose 6 percent to a record 764,495 in 2011-12. Enrollments from China increased 23 percent to 194,029.

Institutions in California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois were the top five choices for international students. Nearly 22 percent of international students chose business and management as their field of study, followed by engineering at 18.5 percent, and math and computer science at 9.3 percent.


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