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ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

The number of new international students enrolling at American institutions fell by 6.6% during the 2017-18 academic year, on top of a 3.3% decline the year before, according to a report by the Institute of International Education released Tuesday.

(This comes from yaleglobal.yale.edu Wall Street Journal: Fewer Foreign Students in US by Michelle Hackman and Douglas Belkin on November 14, 2018.)

1. Does the blue part mean "more than a 3.3% decline"?
2. Is it natural to say "on top of a 3.3% decline"?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • User With No Name

    Senior Member
    n/a
    1. Does the blue part mean "more than a 3.3% decline"?
    2. Is it natural to say "on top of a 3.3% decline"?
    1. No. It means that during the 2016-17 academic year, enrollments fell by 3.3%, and the trend continued in 2017-18, with an additional 6.6% decline.
    2. Yes, it sounds natural. The wording emphasizes that the already troubling trend is continuing and is cumulative. One might similarly say that "it rained three inches this week, on top of 4 inches last week."
     
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