ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The number of foreign students at New Mexico universities fell 4.6 percent last year, but the amount of money they spent here still increased slightly, according to a new national report.
There were 3,595 foreign students at the state’s higher education institutions during the 2016-17 academic year, according to the “Open Doors” report released earlier this month. That’s down from 3,767 the previous year.
New Mexico ranked 43rd overall among states for international enrollment, according to the data from the Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. California topped the list with 156,879 foreign students.
China has the strongest representation in New Mexico, making up 13.1 percent of international students. India, Kuwait, Mexico and Nepal round out the top five.
In New Mexico, according to the report’s estimates, foreign students spent about $93 million — about $26,863 apiece. That’s up from $91.2 million the previous year.
University of New Mexico, the state’s largest school, hosted the most foreign students. It and New Mexico State University combined to account for 78 percent of the state’s foreign students. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology had about 5 percent.
UNM’s numbers remained relatively steady at 1,577 students, according to the data. But the university remains vulnerable to the same forces affecting international enrollment nationwide, according to Pablo Torres, associate director for international admissions and recruitment with UNM’s Global Education Office.