International Students: Who Is Attending American Universities

Last Updated Nov 23, 2010 2:35 PM EST

A record number of international students - 690,923 - are now studying at colleges and universities in the United States.

The influx of international students is hardly new. Since 2006, every college admission cycle has attracted more foreign students who are eager to study in the United States.

Chinese students are the biggest source of international students by far, according to the annual Open Doors report conducted by the Institute of International Education. For the 2009-2010 school year, Chinese student enrollment in U.S. colleges jumped an astonishing 30%. As you can see from the list below, no other country comes close to exporting as many young people to America for college.

International Students: Top 20 Countries of Origin

  1. China 690,923
  2. India 127,628
  3. South Korea 72,153
  4. Canada 28,145
  5. Taiwan 26,685
  6. Japan 24,842
  7. Saudi Arabia 15,810
  8. Mexico 13,450
  9. Vietnam 13,112
  10. Turkey 12,397
  11. Nepal 11,233
  12. Germany 9,548
  13. United Kingdom 8,861
  14. Brazil 8,786
  15. Thailand 8,531
  16. Hong Kong 8,034
  17. France 7,716
  18. Indonesia 6,943
  19. Colombia 6,920
  20. Nigeria 6,568
The majority of foreign students end up at large American universities. Looking at the 20 most popular destinations for international students, 14 universities are state institutions.

Smaller liberal arts colleges, however, are making more of a push to attract international students to help boost their enrollments at a time when some American families have concluded that private colleges cost too much.

Most Popular American Universities for International Students

  1. University of Southern California 7, 987
  2. University of Illinois 7,287
  3. New York University 7,276
  4. Purdue University 6,903
  5. Columbia University 6,833
  6. University of Michigan 6,095
  7. UCLA 5,685
  8. Michigan State University 5,358
  9. University of Texas 5,265
  10. Boston University 5,172
  11. University of Florida 4,920
  12. SUNY University at Buffalo 4,911
  13. Harvard University 4,867
  14. Indiana University 4,819
  15. Ohio State University 4,796
  16. University of Minnesota 4,665
  17. Texas A&M University 4,611
  18. Penn State University 4,561
  19. University of Pennsylvania 4,522
  20. Arizona State University 4,480


In my next college blog post, I'll share what future international students need to know about studying in the United States.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
International students image by United Nations Information Service - Geneva. CC 2.0.

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