International Students Top One Million For First Time US News

Among other Open Doors’ findings:

  • The US institutions drawing the most international students were New York University (15,543), University of Southern California (13,340), Arizona State University (12,751), Columbia University (12,740) and the University of Illinois at Urban-Campaign (12,085).
  • China remains the top country of origin, with almost twice the number of students in the US as India, but India’s rate of growth outpaced China’s. Enrollments from India grew 24.9%, to 165,918 students.
  • Most of India’s growth occurred at the graduate level, and particularly via participation in a programme known as optional practical training or OPT, which allows foreign students to work in the United States after earning their degree.
  • OPT enrollments increased 22.6% last year, while undergraduate and graduate enrollments each increased 7.1% and 6.0%, respectively. A federal rule this year lengthened the extension for OPT students in the STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields from 17 to 24 months, and enables students to apply for an extension twice during their academic career.
  • Saudi Arabia sent the third-largest number of students, 61,287, to the United States, followed by South Korea, which dropped to fourth place following a 4.2% drop in enrollments, to 61,007.
  • Europe continues to host more than half of all US students going abroad, with about a third of all US students choosing the United Kingdom, Italy or Spain in the 2014-15 academic year.
  • The Ebola crisis likely deterred US students from traveling to Sub-Saharan Africa; that region saw a 20% drop.
  • An 18.2% drop in US enrollments from Brazil was the most dramatic decline, and was attributed primarily to the Brazilian government’s freeze on the budget of its Scientific Mobility Program, which had sponsored many Brazilian students’ US studies.