November 12, 2013

Record number of international students studying in U.S.


Number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities in the 2012-13 academic year.

The U.S. continues to run an educational trade surplus. Nearly 820,000 international students were enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities in the 2012-13 year, compared with 283,332 U.S. students studying abroad, according to a new report from the Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit that manages dozens of study-abroad programs.

Both figures represent record highs, according to the institute’s 2013 “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.” In the last academic year, 55,149 more international students were studying in the U.S. than in 2011-12, a 7.2% increase. Over that same period, the number of American students studying overseas grew 3.4%, or 9,336 students. There are now 40% more international students studying in the U.S. than a decade ago, the institute found. International students make up nearly 4% of total undergraduate- and graduate-level enrollment.

China was by far the leading source of foreign students in the U.S. — 235,597 students, or 28.7% of the total — followed by India (11.8%), South Korea (8.6%) and Saudi Arabia (5.4%). Most of the year-over-year growth was driven by China (up 21.4% from 2011-12) and Saudi Arabia (up 30.5%).

The United Kingdom was the most popular study-abroad destination for U.S. students, with 12.2% going there in the 2011-12 academic year, followed by Italy (10.5%), Spain (9.3%) and France (6.1%).

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Education, College

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Patrick Schlatter3 years ago

    As the economy in the GCC region of the world continues to grow, how does the population shift towards outsourcing students to American and UK universities and colleges? Also what does the impact have on Chinese, South Korean, and Indian students studying in the United States and United Kingdom?

  2. lgjhere4 years ago

    Once here, however, it’s not easy being an international student, given our complex culture and language. Assistance must come in many forms. A new award-winning worldwide book/ebook that helps anyone coming to the US is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” It paints a revealing picture of America for those who will benefit from a better understanding, including international students. Endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and how they contributed to our society, including students.
    A chapter on education identifies schools that are free and explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a new culture, friendship process, and classroom differences they will encounter. Some stay after graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work for an American firm here or overseas. It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and books like this to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation. Good luck to all wherever you study.