International Student Enrollment in the United States

USA International Student Enrollment

Enrollment by International Students in US colleges went up by 5% to 723,277 in the academic year of 2010/11. Greater numbers of Students from China were part of the trend. Here are a few interesting facts:

  • University of Southern California being the top university
  • California is the most popular choice of state
  • New York City was the top city of choice
  • 45% of international student body were women
  • Most chosen fields of Study – Business/Management and Engineering.

These numbers were released by the Institute of International Education and the US DOS Bureau of Education. For the 5th consecutive year, international students have enrolled in US Universities – there are now 32% more foreign students at US educational institutions than a decade ago.

Economic Facts and Figures:

Chinese students have enrolled in large numbers – 23% in total and 43% of them at the undergraduate level. These numbers have had a significant impact on the US economy as these students bring more than $21 billion to the coffers – by way of tuition and living expenses. They also bring in revenues to the local economies in the form of room and board, transport costs, health insurance, books etc. A little under 2/3rds of the students receive their funds from personal sources. There is no doubt that higher education is the top export sector. Everything considered, up to 70% of all funding for foreign students is from sources outside the United States.

State-wise Enrollment:

Many states saw higher enrollment numbers than usual. The most popular states with international students have always been:

  • California
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Massachusetts and
  • Illinois

Among the top 10 states, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana saw higher enrollment numbers than usual – more than the national average. Ohio saw the biggest jump with 10.5%. Pennsylvania and Ohio also moved up the list with higher enrollment numbers. The Assistant Secretary of State is quoted as saying that the diversity and excellent education offered by US Universities is a big draw for International students.

Breakdown by Country:

  • Enrollment by Chinese students rose by 22% or 158,000 making them the biggest contingent by far – for the 2nd year in a row.
  • The numbers of Indian Students fell by 1% or 104,000. Indian students still make up 14% of all international students in the US education system.
  • South Korea sends about 73,000 students a year and is third with 10%.

These three countries alone make up about 46% of all international enrollments for higher education in the US. Taiwan, Japan, Canada and Saudi Arabia account for about 3 – 4% of international student population and round off numbers to about 60%.


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