1 million intern'l students in US higher ed

Crossposted from IIE Interactive Special: To access the new data and background information to help explain the trends, go to www.iie.org/opendoors.

The number of international students enrolled in U.S. higher education increased by 7.1% to 1,043,839 students in 2015/16, with 69,000 more students than the prior year at colleges and universities across the United States. This marks the tenth consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education, again confirming that the United States remains the destination of choice for higher education. There are now 85% more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than were reported a decade ago; they represent just over five percent of the more than 20 million students enrolled in U.S. higher education, up from around four percent in previous years.

Top 5 countries of origin: China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada.

For the second year in a row, the largest growth was in the number of students from India, primarily at the graduate level and in optional practical training (OPT). China remains the top sending country, with almost twice the number of students in the U.S. as India, but India’s rate of growth and absolute increases outpaced China’s.

Students from the top three countries of origin – China, India, and Saudi Arabia – now represent approximately 53% of the total enrollment of international students in the United States. The numbers from South Korea declined by 4.2%, causing it to fall from the third leading place of origin to fourth place. After these top four countries, no country represents more than three percent of the total international students in the United States. Despite a one percent decline, Canada remains the fifth leading place of origin.

The fastest growing countries this past year were India (+24.9%), Nepal (+18.4%), and Vietnam (+14.3%).

The globalization of campuses across the United States continues, with nearly all of the top 25 host universities and all of the top ten states hosting more international students than in the prior year. In 1999/2000, there were 135 institutions that hosted 1,000 or more international students, while the new Open Doors reported 255 institutions hosting 1,000 or more international students in 2015/16.
California hosted almost 150,000 international students, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Two of the top ten destinations saw double digit growth: California with a 10.5% increase, and Florida with a 10.4% increase. All but fourteen states and U.S. territories saw increases in international enrollments in 2015/16.

New York University is the host of the largest number of international students for the third year in a row, followed by the University of Southern California which had been the leading host for 12 years until 2013/14. These two universities were followed by Arizona State University, Columbia University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Combined, the top 25 campuses hosted 22% of all international students in the United States.
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