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Twin Cities one of the top 20 metro areas for attracting foreign students

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The Twin Cities metro area ranks among the top regions in the country for attracting foreign students to its colleges and universities, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranks 18th among 118 metro areas in the U.S., according to the report.

The study examined how many students studying on F-1 visas attended colleges and universities in various metropolitan areas in the U.S. From 2008-2012, 11,623 such students came to Minnesota.

They were enrolled at several institutions in the metro area, but most of them attended the University of Minnesota, Hamline University, Macalester College, Metropolitan State University and the University of St. Thomas, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

The University of Minnesota was ranked 14th in the nation among individual schools for the number of foreign students studying there.

The number of foreign students studying in the U.S has increased dramatically in recent years. That number has gone up five-fold, from 110,000 in 2001 to 524,000 in 2012, according to the report. The largest increases are of students from emerging economies such as China and Saudi Arabia.

An F-1 visa is the most common visa issued to foreigners studying in a full-time academic program. F-1 students are admitted to the United States for the “duration of status” until they complete their academic program.

One of the requirements is that the student can afford to pay for their school and living expenses for the time they're in the U.S. According to the report, the 11,000+ students in Minnesota paid a total of $206 million in tuition and $144.5 million in living costs while they were enrolled.

Nearly half of the foreign students who came to Minnesota to study stayed in the state after graduating. Their visas allow them to work for 12 to 29 months after they get their degree.

Brookings conducted the research as part of its Global Cities Initiative, a project which aims to help cities around the country become more "globally fluent" so they can engage more in world markets.

“As we kick off a new school year, it’s important to understand how students from fast-growing foreign nations can help build global connections and shore up our local economies and businesses," said Neil Ruiz, the author of the report.

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