The Education Blog: by Upasana Gupta

Insights on education news and trends worldwide

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Rise in International Student Enrollment

List of Colleges Hosting Majority of Foreign Students

The number of international students attending colleges in the United States is steadily increasing. American universities are attracting more international students, both to increase revenue and diversity.

(Suggested Read: Scholarships for International Students; Top Universities in the World)

According to the Institute of International Education's 2013 Open Doors report, the number of international students in U.S. institutions reached a record high of 819,644 students in 2012/13. Five percent higher than 2011 and almost one-third higher than ten years ago.

(Visit our financial aid and International school section for more information.)

The increasing focus on international students is also evident in statistics collected by U.S. News that show more than a quarter of ranked schools (1,365) in 2013 made overseas visits to recruit high school students.  Local universities are seeking to boost their international enrollment and are sending recruiters to college fairs, high schools and language centers in other countries. Also, international students made up at least 15 percent of the student body at 15 of the 262 ranked National Universities in 2013. And nearly 75 percent of ranked National Universities offer English as a Second Language program to enrolled foreign students.

International students contribute more than $24 billion to the U.S. economy, according to an analysis made by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2013. The majority of international students coming to United States are from China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and India primarily for their undergraduate studies.

Where are Majority of Foreign Students Studying?

Most international students study in California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois. The following colleges reported the highest percentages of international students in the 2013-2014 academic year. ( Source: U.S. News)

School International
New School 

New York, NY

Florida Institute of Technology 

Melbourne, FL

University of Tulsa 

Tulsa, OK

Illinois Institute of Technology 

Chicago, IL

Lynn University 

Boca Raton, FL

Carnegie Mellon University 

Pittsburgh, PA

University of San Francisco 

San Francisco, CA

Andrews University 

Berrien Springs, MI

Northeastern University 

Boston, MA

University of California—​San Diego 

La Jolla, CA

Purdue University—​West Lafayette 

West Lafayette, IN

Why are International Students Coming to U.S.?

The increase influx of foreign students within U.S. shows that international students and their families — who pay higher non-resident tuition at public colleges — believe a U.S. college degree is a sound investment.

"For international students, U.S. is a top destination for higher learning because of well-reputed institutions and high quality of education leading to enhanced skills and job opportunities," says Raj Gupta, a former foreign student from Fair Leigh Dickinson University, New Jersey. "Earning potential is a big factor pushing foreign students to U.S. soil," Gupta says, who is now a U.S. Citizen and a successful business owner.

Is the Rising Growth in International Students Good for U.S.?

The continued growth in international students coming to the U.S. for higher education has a significant positive economic impact on the United States. Open Doors 2013 reports that about 72 percent of all international students receive the majority of their funds from sources outside of the United States, including personal and family sources as well as assistance from their home country governments or universities.

Students from around the world who study in the United States also contribute to America's scientific and technical research and bring international and diverse perspectives into U.S. classrooms, helping prepare American undergraduates for global careers, and often lead to long-term business relationships and economic benefits.

For example, based on Gupta's experience, American professors in his engineering class often encouraged open discussions from foreign students on different design concepts and challenges in global economies, which they would'nt otherwise hear unless they lived abroad.