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The number of foreign students in the United States has dropped for the first time since 1972, with a fall of two per cent from the past academic year. Educators say that being subjected to heightened security measures — including fingerprinting and special security interviews — since 11 September 2001 has kept more foreign students at home than usual.

In this article, Bill Schackner describes how most developing countries saw fewer students leaving for the United States. China's numbers were down by five per cent, Japan and Thailand by about 11 per cent, and Indonesia by 15 per cent. But India proved to be the exception with an increase of seven per cent.

Records from the Institute for International Education show that students in 'hard sciences' such as chemistry face long delays, says Schackner. He reports that according to the institute, which has kept count of numbers of students enrolling in the country, efforts to reduce visa delays should help remedy this situation. The institute adds that international students are vital for the country's economy.

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