12 Most Popular Universities for International Students

Last Updated Nov 16, 2009 2:31 PM EST

American colleges are more popular with international students than at any other time in history.US is most popular destination for international students.
The number of international students attending colleges in the United States climbed for the third straight year, according to the Institute of International Education. Roughly 671,600 international students attended colleges and universities here during the 2008-2009 school year. First-year enrollment jumped almost 16%.

According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education today, the United States continues to be the top destination for international college students. It remains the alpha dog despite efforts by Australia, Canada and other countries to attract more international students. Great Britain is the second most popular college destination for foreign students with close to 341,800 studying there.

By far, the vast majority of overseas students are coming from Asia. According to the Institute of International Education, 62% of foreign students in this country are Asian. European students make up 13% of the foreign students studying here while Latin Americans (10%) are in third place.

Here are the American universities with the greatest number of international students:

Percentage of School's Total Enrollment

  1. University of Southern California 22%
  2. New York University 13%
  3. Columbia University 26%
  4. University of Illinois 16%
  5. Purdue University 15%
  6. University of Michigan 14%
  7. University of Texas 11%
  8. UCLA 15%
  9. Boston University 16%
  10. Michigan state University 10%
  11. Harvard University 23%
  12. University of Florida 9%
I'll be curious whether the flood of foreign students into this country can continue. We won't know until 2010 what the impact of the worldwide recession has had on the number of international students studying in America this year.

Being able to pay for a first-class education in the United States is a challenge for many international students. Unlike schools in Europe, for instance, which are often free or incredibly inexpensive, American colleges are hardly cheap.

But here's the good news: there are many American colleges that provide international scholarships and need-based aid. You can find a list of schools that offer financial aid and scholarships for international students on a post that I wrote for my other college blog: Generous Colleges For International Students.

International students image by rubberpaw. CC 2.0.