The number of foreign students enrolled in Russian universities surged by more than 14 percent last year, newspaper Vedomosti reported Thursday.
Data compiled by the Novosibirsk National Research State University indicated that 186,606 foreign students studied in Russian institutions last year, showing a 14.1 percent increase, Vedomosti reported.
Most of the foreign students were from Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine, the report said.
The spike in the number of foreign students may be due in part to a 2014 initiative by the Education Ministry to use funds from the federal budget to cover the tuition of 15,000 foreign students each year. Previously, the annual quota for foreign students had amounted to only 7,500.
The measure was meant to increase the competitiveness of Russian institutions as part of the government's "5-100" project, which aims to see at least five Russian universities ranked among the world's top 100 universities by 2020.
Last December, Lomonosov Moscow State University ranked fifth in the 2015 BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings published by the Times Higher Education, having climbed five slots from the previous year.