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More Chinese postgraduate applicants enrolled by U.S. universities

 BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The number of Chinese students pursuing Masters or PhD studies in American universities has gone up this fall, the first increase for the past three years.

    About 20 percent more Chinese postgraduate students were enrolled in the United States this year, making China second only to India, which saw growth of 32 percent, according to a survey conducted by the American Council of Graduate Schools cited by Monday's Beijing Morning Post.

    Chinese postgraduate enrollment was 5 percent down in 2005 compared with the previous year, said the newspaper.

    U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Dina H. Powell headed the first ever high-profile delegation of colleges and university presidents on a visit to China last week, aiming to attract more Chinese students to study in the United States.

    Delivering a speech at Beijing Normal University on Thursday afternoon, Spellings said "For decades, we have attracted more students from China than almost any other country in the world."

    There were over 62,000 Chinese students studying in the United States, according to Spellings.

    Last year, the number of student and exchange visas the United States issued to international students reached an all-time high of nearly 600,000, she said, adding student visas were up 15 percent.

    Foreign students have complained that, following Sept. 11, getting a visa to the United States was hard to come and usually took a long time.

    "We've been working hard to make the visa process smoother, easier and more transparent," Spellings said.

    She said more than 97 percent of qualified students could obtain their visas in a few days.

    In addition, statistics show that more than 10,000 American students came to China last year, a 36 percent growth compared with 2004.

    Asia remains the largest source of total U.S. international enrollments, accounting for 58 percent. With 76,503 students in the United States in 2005/06, India is the leading country followed by China with 62,582 students.

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