Washington (CNN) -- A record number of students from China are attending college in the United States, a new report says.
The total number of foreign students in the United States increased by 2.9 percent, to 690,923, during the 2009-10 school year, according to an annual report on international academic mobility.
Chinese student enrollment jumped by 30 percent, the report said. Chinese students -- with a total of 127,628 -- now account for 18.5 percent of international students in the United States, according to the Open Doors 2010 report. That makes China the No. 1 source of international students in the United States.
Many Chinese say American education is more academically freeing and creatively stimulating, leading to more innovation than traditional Chinese education, which emphasizes memorization and repetition.
Students from India increased by 1.6 percent, to a total of 104,897, during 2009-10, the release said. India is the No. 2 source of foreign students in the United States, with 15.2 percent.
South Korea comes in No. 3, with 72,153 students in the United States during 2009-10, the report says.
Schools in the United States have stepped up recruitment of foreign students, to diversify their student bodies, as well as to boost their funding. International students typically pay much more in tuition and fees than domestic students, which helps schools as the weak U.S. economy has tightened government funding.
The Open Doors report is published by the Institute of International Education, with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department.