US international enrolments growing strongly

Inside Higher Ed    |    12 November 2012

The number of international students in the United States increased by 5.7% in 2011-12, growing to a record high of 764,495, according to this year’s “Open Doors” data, published annually by the Institute of International Education. For the first time since 2000-01, the number of international undergraduates exceeds the number of foreign graduate students.

International Students in the U.S. by Academic Level in 2011-12


Graduate Non-Degree Optional Practical Training Total
309,342 300,430 69,566 85,157 764,495

American colleges have stepped up their recruitment of international undergraduate students in recent years. They’ve been motivated both by financial considerations — foreign undergraduates typically pay their own way and, for public institutions, pay out-of-state tuition rates — and by the educational opportunities created by an internationally diverse student population.

“The increase of undergraduates will have a very profound effect on the American classroom,” said Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor to the president at IIE. “Graduate students tend to stay in their lab, do their work, whereas [international] undergraduates, they’re going to be lab-mates with American students, they’re going to be dorm-mates, and they’re going to be in classrooms and in dorms late at night sharing ideas.”


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