Florentine flourish: college fair promotes student visas.

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Although the number of student visas fell in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty wanted the nation's welcome mat for foreign students to remain firmly in place.

"We believe the best advertisement for America is America," she said. "There is no better way to learn about the United States than to live and study and work with Americans. The loss of this opportunity for even a single student is a loss we are not prepared to bear."

In 2006, the United States issued more than 591,000 F-, M-and J-type student visas worldwide, at last