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Overseas students in US on record high: new report

Washington DC

The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by almost 6% to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011/12 academic year, contributing $22.7 billion to the U.S. economy.

New figures provided by the U.S.-based Institute of International Education show international enrolment at U.S. colleges and universities grew 5.7% in the 2011/2012 intake, driven by a 23% increase from China. The most significant change comes from the number of students from Saudi Arabia, which increased by 50%, possibly as consequence of events during the Arab spring.

But perhaps more revealing is where much of the growth is concentrated: big, public land-grant colleges, notably in the Midwest of the country. Michigan State University and other universities in the state of Indiana, Pennsylvania and Florida had the largest percent increases of international students enrolling, almost in a 10% compared to the numbers from last year.

Despite this variance, California is still at the top of the hosting states, with more than 100,000 international students for the first time this year, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois.

Another surprising change took place in the study level of current international students in U.S. institutions. Non-degree qualifications (Vocational/Career based) augmented by 17.4% compared to increases in undergraduate (6.1%) and postgraduate enrolments (1.3%). The number of students applying for Intensive English courses also increased to 20.4%.

Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs said:

“International education creates strong, lasting relationships between the U.S. and emerging leaders worldwide. Students return home with new perspectives and a global skill set that will allow them to build more prosperous, stable societies.”

The Open Doors Report is published by the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since 1919, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972.

Open Doors also reports on numbers of international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad. A full report on Open Doors 2012 surveys and their findings is on the Open Doors website.


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You can compare the latest data with the findings published by Open Doors last year.

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About Author

Washington DC

Aspiring journalist and Cambridge University graduate, Londoner 'by adoption'. Tweeting for @hotcourses_Abrd


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