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International students contributed $108.5 million to Hawaii economy

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    In this file photo from last year, Ash Ruggiero, middle, instructs an English class in the University of Hawaii Campus Center made up of international students in the NICE program - New Intensive Courses in English - run through the Outreach College.
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International students contributed $108.5 million to Hawaii’s economy in tuition and living expenses in the 2012/13 academic year, according to an annual report released Monday.

The number of international students attending college here and the amount of money is up slightly from last year, according to the Open Doors study from the Institute of International Education.

This year, the report estimates there are 4,450 international students studying here. In 2012, there were 4,446 students, who spent $107.1 million.

Nationally, the institute said the number of international students, led by a 21 percent increase in students from China, reached record levels. About 819,644 foreign students contributed an estimated $24 billion to the U.S. economy.

The influx of Chinese students seems to be mostly bypassing Hawaii’s colleges. The numbers of Chinese students coming here remained relatively stable. They make up about 7.6 percent of the foreign students in Hawaii.

The largest numbers of international students studying here are from Japan, 20.9 percent, followed by South Korea, 13.7 percent; China, 7.6 percent; Norway 4.7 percent, and Taiwan 4.1 percent.

Nationally, China sends the most students to the U.S., followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

The University of Hawaii Manoa had the largest number of foreign students with 1,303; followed by Brigham Young University Hawaii, 1046; Hawaii Pacific University, 937; Kapiolani Community College, 702; and UH Hilo, 182.

BYUH attracted the most foreign students among baccalaureate institutions. KCC, HPU and UH Hilo were also cited as among the top 40 institutions with international student enrollment among their peer groups.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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