Record number of international students in US
For the first time, the number of international students attending colleges and universities in the US topped 1 million in an academic year, and China led with 31.5 percent of all international students.
For the 2015-16 academic year, total international enrollment was 1,043,839, a 7.1 percent increase over last year and nearly double the level of 10 years ago, according to the annual Open Doors Report released on Monday by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and produced with funding from the US State Department.
Students from China and India remained the leading countries of origin and accounted for 84 percent of the growth in international students in 2015-16.
The number of students from China in 2015-16 was 328,547, an increase of 8.1 percent over the previous year, but the smallest growth since 2005, the report shows.
The number of students from India grew by 24.9 percent in 2015-16 to 165,918, following on a 29.4 percent growth rate the year prior and a 6.1 percent growth rate the year before that.
Saudi Arabia replaced South Korea as the thirdlargest country of origin, though the increase in the number of Saudi students, 61,287, up 2.2 percent, represents a slower rate of growth than that seen in recent years.
South Korea, with 61,007 students was the fourthhighestcountry, and saw a decline 4.2 percent, representing the fifth straight year of declines in its student population.
Last year in the US, international students spent about $30.5 billion, according to the IIE.
Chinese students contributed $11.43 billion to the US economy, the US Commerce department said.
California was the top destination state for international students, hosting nearly 150,000 followed by New York.
New York City was again the top metropolitan area for international students, followed by Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago. Two areas showed increases of more than 20 percent: Tampa, Florida, and Sacramento, California.
Eight schools enrolled more than 10,000 international students. They are in descending order of enrollment: New York University, the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, Columbia University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northeastern University, the University of California, Los Angeles and Purdue University.
At the US schools, some of the most popular areas of study are those related to science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM). More than onethird of all international students in the academic year 2015-2016 were studying engineering or math and computer science, the report shows. Engineering overtook business and management, the No 1 field in 2014-2015, to become the most popular field of study among non-US students.
The growth in engineering was driven, in large part, by a sizable increase in students from India, said Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice-president for research and evaluation at IIE.
The number of American students studying abroad has steadily increased, according to the IIE. There were more than 100,000 more students studying abroad in 2014-15 — the latest academic data available — compared to a decade before. The top four countries of choice were the UK, Italy, Spain and France, followed by China.
In the 2014-15 academic year, the number of American students going to China dropped for the third year in a row, falling by 7.1 percent in 2014-15 over the year before, and following on declines of 4.5 percent and 3.2 percent in the two years before that.
In 2015, 60 percent of students studying in China came from other Asian nations.