Saudi students are given US scholarships by the government
Saudi Arabia sent 34,139 students to study in the United States in the academic year 2011-2012, making it the fourth largest provider of foreign students to US colleges after China, India and South Korea, Arab News has reported.
The figures are part of the most recent annual report by the Institute of International Education.
During 2010-2011, the number of students sent to US colleges increased by 11,435 students from the previous year. There are currently about 70,000 Saudi students in American universities.
The number is expected to rise. An increase in the number of undergraduate students from Saudi Arabia enrolling in the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Programme, which is funded by the government, has overtaken the number of international graduates for the first time in 12 years.
"Many Saudi students' choice of attending colleges in the US over those in other countries is due to their first-rate scholastic programmes," says Evan Bunis, senior academic consultant.
"The King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Programme does its best to make sure that Saudi students receive the best academic support and attend the best universities in the world."