Led by India, Number of International US Students Grows


According to newly-released federal data, the number of international students studying within the United States increased by a record-breaking 10% last year thanks to increased growth from China and India.

The annual study, released by the nonprofit Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State, found the influx of students to be the largest single-year gain in the past 35 years.

While most of the 974,926 international students that came into the US last year were from China, most of the additional 10% was found to be due to an influx of students from India who were drawn to research programs.

In the largest jump seen since the nonprofit began collecting data in 1954, the number of Indian students increased by 30% to total over 130,000.

The number of Brazilian students saw a significant increase as well, jumping from 13,000 to 23,000.  However, Brazilians make up only 2% of all international students in the US.

New York University enrolled the largest percentage of international students for the second year in a row at more than 13,000.  The University of Southern California, Columbia University, and Arizona State University all closely followed, each with over 11,000 international students this year.

According to the Institute of International Education, international students contributed $30 billion to the US economy last year, reports Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal.

While the US continues to be a top destination for international students, fewer Americans are choosing to study abroad.  In the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year for available figures, about 300,000 US students attended schools in other countries.  That number accounts for just 2% of all American undergraduate students.

In an effort to increase the number of students studying abroad, the US Department of State said it plans to open a new study abroad office that will give information pertaining to programs and scholarships.

“We are going to be working very actively on outreach to explain the benefits of study abroad and encourage more Americans to participate,” said Marianne Craven, the acting deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programs.

Craven said the office is pushing for the website to launch later this week.

The office will focusing on offering aid to low-income and minority students.  Almost 75% of students who went to school abroad last year were white, a number that has decreased at a very slow rate over the last 10 years.  Meanwhile, Black students accounted for only 6% of those who left the country.

The majority of US students who study abroad choose to attend school in the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.  Almost half of all students who chose to study abroad attended school in Europe.

Colleges are also doing their part to push students to study abroad by noting the cultural benefits of doing so.  Dozens of schools have signed up for a national campaign hoping for all US students to obtain a passport.  Efforts have also been made to increase the number of international students attending school in the US.

“They know that attracting international students to their campuses makes for a better student body,” Craven said.