Sharp Drop in Kenyans Studying in the US


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Jan 30, 2008
Sharp Drop in Kenyans Studying in US


Kenyan students who lived in the US for a year, upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi in July, 2009.

By KEVIN J. KELLEY in New York
Posted Monday, November 15 2010 at 14:23

The number of Kenyans enrolled in US varsities dropped sharply in 2009, causing the country to fall farther from the top spot it once occupied among African countries sending students to the United States.

A survey issued on Monday by the New York-based Institute of International Education reports that 5,384 Kenyans were studying in the US in the 2009-2010 academic year. That is 8.4 per cent fewer than the 5,877 who were registered in the previous year.

Nigeria now occupies first place among African countries. The number of Nigerians attending US universities rose 1 per cent last year to a total of 6,568.

Kenya ranks as the 22nd largest source of students coming to the United States. Nigeria is in 20th place. China holds the lead, with nearly 128,000 students seeking degrees in the United States — a 30 per cent increase in just one year.

The decline for Kenya may be linked to the increased cost of obtaining a US student visa. The price was raised in June by Sh700, reaching a sum of Sh11,200. The cost of a US visa in 2008 stood at Sh9000.

High Fees

Constant tuition increases at US universities may also be making it harder for Kenyans to study in the United States.

The total cost of attending a leading US varsity rises about 5 per cent a year, with the top destination for international students — the University of Southern California — now charging Sh4,578,368 per year for tuition, room and board.

More than half of the 25 top sending countries showed decreases last year in the number of their students attending US universities.

But the total of international students in the US rose 3 per cent last year to 691,000.

Africa is, meanwhile, emerging as an increasingly popular destination for Americans studying abroad. More than 13,500 US students were enrolled in African universities in 2009-2010 — a 15 per cent increase from the previous year.

South Africa is, however, the only country on the continent to rank as one of the top 25 destinations for American students. It holds the 13th spot, with the UK ranked as number one.

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