International Student Enrollment in the USA Soars

November 17th, 2008 by Keith Clausen

Open Doors Report 2008 released today by the Institute of International Education

After several years of modest rises and even post-9/11 declines this decade, the number of international students studying in the USA soared this past year, to a record total of 623,805, a 7% increase over the previous year’s enrollment of 582,984. The 7% increase is the largest year over year increase since the 1969-1970 school year, and will be widely celebrated as the result of greater emphasis on attracting international students by the US State Department and US institutes of higher education.

The Open Doors Report is compiled by the Institute of International Education, and released annually during International Education Week, which kicks off today. This year’s report shows strong growth from the top three sending countries, as the number of students in the US from India (94,563), China (81,127) and South Korea (69,124) increased 12.8%, 19.8% and 10.8%, respectively. In addition, Saudi Arabia moved to #9 on the list with a tremendous increase of 25.2% to a total of 9,873, as King Abdullah’s extremely generous scholarship program reached maturity.

The Open Doors press release from this morning quoted Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, β€œThe steady increase in the number of international students in the United States reflects actions taken by the U.S. government and many individual colleges and universities to ensure that international students know they are welcome here, and that we appreciate how they contribute to the intellectual and cultural environment on campus and in the wider community. Furthering academic exchange – in both directions – is one of the best investments that we can make to strengthen U.S. higher education and research activities and foster cross-border collaboration on shared global problems such as fighting disease, protecting the environment, and countering terrorism.”

The University of Southern California maintained its top position as the school with the most international students at 7,189, followed by New York University with 6,404 and Columbia University with 6,297. US students studying abroad also showed a sharp increase of 8.2%, from 223,534 in 2205/6 to 241,791 in 2006/7.

Click here to read the Open Doors press release from IIE.

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