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Posted at 1:00 AM ET, 11/16/2009

Definitive Stats on Foreign Students in U.S. and U.S. Students Abroad

By Valerie Strauss

Here are the definitive numbers on foreign student enrollment in the United States--and American students studying abroad--that are being released today by the Institute of International Education and supported by the State Department.

The Opens Doors 2009 report looks at the 2008-9 school year, and does not fully reflect the impact of the worldwide economic trouble of the past year. But on Friday I published the results of the institute’s just completed survey of 701 colleges and universities about foreign enrollment for this fall.

The survey stats are not as complete as the Open Doors report, but they provided a snapshot showing a mixed picture: Half of the campuses saw increases in foreign student enrollments--down from 57 percent the previous year, while 24 reported declines and 26 percent stayed even.

The more complete Open Doors stats for 2008-09 are interesting, revealing where foreign students are coming from and where they are going. The report also shows information for U.S. students studying abroad for the year 2007-08. And below are also stats for Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

International Student Enrollment:
* The number of international students at colleges and universities in the U.S. increased by 8% to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008-09 academic year. This is the largest percentage increase in international student enrollments since 1980-81, and marks the third consecutive year of significant growth.

* New international student enrollments (first year enrollments) rose by 16%, following two years of increases (10%, 2007-08; and 8%, 2006-07).

* The top five sending countries were:
--China (up 21 percent)
--India (up 9%)
--South Korea (up 9%)
--Canada (up 2%)
--Japan (down 14%)

* Undergraduate enrollment increased 11% compared to a 2% in graduate enrollments (due in part to a large increase in undergraduate students from China).

* California is the leading state of destination for international students; the University of Southern California enrolls the greatest number of international students and New York City remains the top host city.

* International students contribute approximately $17.8 billion to the U.S. economy, through their expenditures on tuition and living expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Americans Studying Abroad
* The number of students studying abroad increased by 8.5% to a record high total of 262,416 in the 2007-08 academic year. The number of U.S. students studying abroad has increased four-fold in the past two decades.
* The top four countries hosting U.S. students are United Kingdom , Italy , Spain and France . China , now the fifth leading destination, saw increases in American students studying abroad of 19% following on a 25% increase the previous year.
* Fifteen of the top 25 destinations for American students are outside of Western Europe and nineteen are countries where English is not the primary language.
* Students electing to study in Africa increased by 18%, those going to Asia increased by 17%, to Latin America by 11%, and those going to the Middle East increased by 22%.
* About 40% of students studying abroad do so through mid-length programs, while 56% of U.S. students choose short-term programs (including summer, January term and any program of 2 to 8 weeks during the academic year).

Number of foreign students in 2008-09: 8,485 (up 7.7 percent from 2007-08)

Schools with most foreign students:
George Washington University--2,406
Georgetown University--1,804
American University--943
University of the District of Columbia-712
Howard University-659

Leading places of origin and number of foreign students:
1) South Korea-655
2) China-624
3) India-526
4) Nigeria-325
5) Canada-280

Total Number of U.S. Study Abroad Students Enrolled Through Institutions in the State in 2007-08: 4,479, up from 3,918 in 2006-07

Number of foreign students in 2008-09: 14,606 (up 7.5% from 2007-08)

Schools with most foreign students:
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg-2,522
George Mason University, Fairfax-2,158
University of Virginia, Charlottesville-1,929
Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale-1,663
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond-1,612

Leading countries of origin:
South Korea-1,486
Saudi Arabia-418

Total Number of U.S. Study Abroad Students Enrolled Through Institutions in the State in 2007-008: 9,054 (up 3.5% from 2006-07)


Foreign students in state for 2008-09: 14,232 (up 6.8% from 2007-08)

Schools with most foreign students
University of Maryland at College Park, College Park-3,480
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore-2,562
Montgomery College, Rockville-2,248
University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Baltimore-771
Towson University, Towson-656

Leading countries of origin:
South Korea-1,363

Total Number of U.S. Study Abroad Students Enrolled Through Institutions in the State in 2007-08: 4,591, up from 4,110 in 2006-07

By Valerie Strauss  | November 16, 2009; 1:00 AM ET
Tags:  foreign students, open doors, study abroad  
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Are these foreign students paying full tuition? Or are American students and taxpayers subsidizing these students?

Posted by: postisarag | November 16, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

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