Number of International Students in US Grows

December 6th, 2011 by Keith Clausen

The annual Open Doors Report, published on November 14 by the Institute of International Education, shows that the number of international students studying in the USA for the 2010/2011 academic year increased by 5%, to a total of 723,277.  This follows an increase of 3% last year, and continues the upward trend that started in 2005/2006, when enrollment numbers started to rebound after post-9/11 setbacks.

Countries of Origin

A big story this year, like last year, is Chinese student enrollment.  The number of Chinese undergraduates studying in the US increased by 43%, and overall Chinese enrollment increased by 23% to 157,558, ensuring that China was the largest sending country again this year.  Saudi Arabia also had a large percentage increase of 44%. Here are the top ten countries of origin for international students in the USA:

Rank Place of Origin 2009/10 2010/11 2010/11 % of Total % Change
WORLD TOTAL 690,923 723,277 100.0 4.7
1 China 127,822 157,558 21.8 23.3
2 India 104,897 103,895 14.4 -1.0
3 South Korea 72,153 73,351 10.1 1.7
4 Canada 28,145 27,546 3.8 -2.1
5 Taiwan 26,685 24,818 3.4 -7.0
6 Saudi Arabia 15,810 22,704 3.1 43.6
7 Japan 24,842 21,290 2.9 -14.3
8 Vietnam 13,112 14,888 2.1 13.5
9 Mexico 13,256 13,713 1.9 2.0
10 Turkey 12,397 12,184 1.7 -1.7

Taken together, the top 3 countries sending students to the US (China, India and South Korea) account for almost half of all international students in the US.

Leading Host Institutions and Fields of Study

The University of Southern California maintained its top spot as the US school hosting the most international students with a total of 8,615.  Here are the ten schools in the United States, by total international student enrollment:

TOP 10 INSTITUTIONS HOSTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, 2010/11
Rank Institution City State Total Int’l Students
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles CA 8,615
2 University of Illinois – UC Champaign IL 7,991
3 New York University New York NY 7,988
4 Purdue University – Main Campus West Lafayette IN 7,562
5 Columbia University New York NY 7,297
6 University of California – Los Angeles Los Angeles CA 6,249
7 Ohio State University – Main Campus Columbus OH 6,082
8 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Ann Arbor MI 5,995
9 Michigan State University East Lansing MI 5,748
10 Harvard University Cambridge MA 5,594

International students have been consistent in the fields of study that they choose, as the top five have not changed.   Business and Management and Engineering are by far the most popular two choices for international students at US schools, followed by Physical and Life Sciences, Math and Computer Science, and Social Sciences to round out the top five.

US Students Abroad

Not only are the numbers for international students growing, but so are the numbers of US students going overseas. According to the Open Doors Report, the number of US students studying abroad increased almost 4% to 270,604. Consistent with previous year records, the most popular destinations for US study abroad students included the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and China as reflected below:

Rank Destinations 2008/09 2009/10 2009/10 % of Total % Change
WORLD TOTAL 260,327 270,604 100.0 3.9
1 United Kingdom 31,342 32,683 12.1 4.3
2 Italy 27,362 27,940 10.3 2.1
3 Spain 24,169 25,411 9.4 5.1
4 France 16,910 17,161 6.3 1.5
5 China 13,674 13,910 5.1 1.7
6 Australia 11,140 9,962 3.7 -10.6
7 Germany 8,330 8,551 3.2 2.7
8 Mexico 7,320 7,157 2.6 -2.2
9 Ireland 6,858 6,798 2.5 -0.9
10 Costa Rica 6,363 6,262 2.3 -1.6

Interestingly, while there are more students studying overseas they are going to non-traditional destinations. There was an eight percent increase for each of the following destinations: Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

For more information, please visit the 2011 Open Doors Report published by the Institute for International Education.

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2 Comments

  1. momo88 says:

    hello..i’m momo i’m in burkina faso..i would like to continue my study in usa,so i researche a co-borrower in the usa to finance my study..
    here is my email konatemomo18@yahoo.fr
    thanks

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