BEIJING -- The Chinese mainland received more than 190,000 foreign students last year, the highest number since the founding of New China in 1949, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said here Thursday.
Altogether 195,503 overseas students from 188 countries and regions came to study on the mainland in 2007, up 20.17 percent year-on-year, the ministry's figures showed.
Overseas students entered 544 universities and colleges in 31 Chinese provincial-level areas.
The Chinese government awarded scholarships to 10,151 exchange students, up 19.6 percent over the previous year. Self-funded students totaled 185,352, up 20.2 percent.
Asian students accounted for 72.47 percent of the overseas students, the biggest proportion. 13.47 percent of the overseas students came from Europe, 10.06 percent from America, 3.03 percent from Africa and 1.07 percent from Oceania.
The Republic of Korea, Japan, the United States, Vietnam and Thailand were the five biggest source countries, the ministry said.
More students came to China for academic degrees, as the number in 2007 increased by 24.34 percent year-on-year to reach 68,213, accounting for about one third of the total.
According to the ministry, the Chinese government will expand its scholarship program by making 3,000 more awards to foreign students each year from 2008 to 2010.