The 2009 Open Doors report shows that in the 2008–2009 academic year, 671,616 students from all over the world were enrolled in American colleges and universities in a wide range of fields (centered mainly on business, engineering and the sciences).
Numbers on the Rise
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, international enrollments slowed dramatically, and the number of international students actually decreased from 2002 through 2006. A modest rebound started in the 2006-2007 academic year, and the recovery has grown stronger each year since to today’s all-time high of 671,616. Today, 3.7 percent of the 18.3 million students in higher education are from outside the United States.
Where Do They Come From?
The leading nations of origin for international students are India (83,833 students), China (67,723) and Korea (62,392). Among the top 20, the percentage of change compared to the previous year—in terms of sending more or fewer students to study in America—was fairly small. But No. 12 Saudi Arabia, No. 13 Nepal, and No. 20 Vietnam each registered major increases: Saudi Arabia, 128.7 percent; Nepal, 27.9 percent; and Vietnam, 31.3 percent.
Where Do They Go?
Coming as no surprise, the most populous state in the nation attracts more international students than any other state. In this latest year for which data are available, 93,124 international students were enrolled in colleges and universities in California, followed by New York (74,934), Texas (58,188), Massachusetts (33,838), Florida (30,386), and Illinois (29,887).
All told, their economic impact—tuition and fees, living expenses for themselves and their dependents, and U.S. support mainly from the schools they attend—totaled nearly $17.8 billion. As it has been year after year, more than 60 percent international students receive the majority of their funds from personal and family financial assets. The next largest funding source is the college or university they are attending.