THE ringgit may have taken a battering against the US dollar since last year but this has not deterred Malaysian students from heading to the United States to pursue their tertiary studies.
On the contrary, the number has increased by 8.3 percent for the 2015/2016 academic year compared to the previous year, says US embassy charge d’affaires Edgard Kagan.
He says that the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange found that there are 7,834 Malaysian students attending college or university in the US.
In a statement, he said that 70 percent of Malaysian students are studying at the undergraduate level, 15 percent at the graduate level and 13 percent in optional practical training.
“We were relieved that it (number of students) hadn’t gone down and was surprised that it had gone up so much,” he told reporters after launching the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) YOUnified 2016 in Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus last Saturday.
He also said that this could be due to Malaysian parents understanding that a US education provides good value despite the increase in costs.
“The experience of being around the people (there) and the exposure of looking at things in different ways are among the opportunities that come from being on an American campus,” he added.
The number of international students at US colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during this same academic year - an increase of seven percent from the previous year - to 1,044,000 students.
This strong growth confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education, he added.
Taylor’s University American Transfer Degree Programme acting dean Assoc Prof Dr Anindita Dasgupta said that the university sends about 300 students to the US annually.
She said that their students there are happy and “thriving” based on feedback obtained by the university.