More students are choosing to study in the United States, study finds

by Ray Clancy on November 17, 2015

More students from around the world, and particularly from India and Brazil, are choosing to study in the United States, new research has found.

The number of international students at US colleges and universities have seen their highest rate of growth in 35 years, increasing by 10% to a record high of 974,926 students in the 2014/2015 academic year.

Statue-of-LibertyThis strong growth confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education, according to the report from the Institute of International Education, a not for profit organisations with a network of 19 offices worldwide.

The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country.

The report also found the number of US students studying abroad increased by 5% in 2013/2014, the highest rate of growth since before the 2008 economic downturn. While study abroad by American students has more than tripled in the last two decades, reaching a new high of 304,467, still only about 10% of US students study abroad before graduating from college.

“We are excited to see that record numbers of students are taking advantage of international education opportunities, and we applaud the efforts of US higher education as we work together to increase the number of American students who study abroad,” said Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State.

“It is critical that we continue to make study abroad more accessible. These exchanges strengthen ties between the United States and countries around the world. By increasing accessibility to study abroad, we are investing in our future and providing a forum to solve global challenges,” he added.

International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education, according to IIE’s President Allan Goodman. “Studying abroad is one of the best ways undergraduate and graduate students gain the international experience necessary to succeed in today’s global workforce,” he said.

“And studying in another country prepares students to be real contributors to working across borders to address key issues in the world we share,” he added.

The figures show that in 2014/2015, there were 88,874 more international students enrolled in US higher education compared to the previous year. India, China and Brazil account for most of the growth in international students on US campuses.

While China remains the top country of origin of international students in the US, increasing by 11% to 304,040, Indiaís growth outpaced Chinaís this year, with students from India increasing by 29.4% to a record high of 132,888. This is the highest rate of growth for Indian students in the history of the Open Doors project, which spans back to 1954/1955.

The last time India grew at a comparable rate at 29.1% was in 2000/2001 when the number of students from India exceeded 50,000 for the first time. In 2014/2015, China and India together accounted for 67% of the increase in international students, and they now constitute nearly 45% of the total number of international students in US higher education.

There were large increases in the number of students from Brazil, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, all countries whose governments are investing heavily in international scholarships for their students, sending tens of thousands of them abroad to develop a globally competent workforce.

Students from Brazil increased 78% to 23,675 this year, accounting for 12% of total growth. Latin America and the Caribbean was the fastest growing region of origin for international students in the US, increasing by 19% over the previous year.

International graduate students at US institutions increased more than international undergraduate students, reversing a two year trend in which undergraduates accounted for the greater number of new students. This is largely because most of the students coming from India were studying at the graduate level.

Texas and California led the growth with rises of 18% and 11% respectively while Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio saw a 10% rise in international students. New York University was the leading host university for international students for the second year in a row.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gaurav Kumar November 21, 2015 at 12:46 am

This is right that US is a hot destination for those who want to study abroad and even from India hundreds of students are going to USA every year to gain higher education in various fields. I also believe that this count will grow every year as USA is always the center of attraction for the world.

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