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November 12, 2012 Special IIE.Interactive
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Today, the Institute of International Education (IIE), together with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, released the latest news on international students in the United States and U.S. students studying abroad. The Open Doors findings will also be a topic of a briefing tomorrow morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, with Assistant Secretary of State Ann Stock and IIE President Allan Goodman, in conjunction with the worldwide observance of International Education Week.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a special section in this week's paper and online today, with feature coverage related to international students in the U.S., and study abroad, along with tables and charts highlighting the key data. 

To access the new data and background information to help explain the trends, go to www.iie.org/opendoors. You can also find results of a Fall 2012 International Student Enrollment Survey that the Institute of International Education conducted jointly with seven other major higher education organizations (American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities,  American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Council of Graduate Schools, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators), and a Fall 2012 Study Abroad Survey that IIE conducted with the Forum on Education Abroad.

We encourage you to share this information with the press office on your campus, and work with them to publicize your institution's success in hosting international students and sending your students to study abroad. You can localize the story by providing details about the students coming to and going from your campus, such as where they come from, where they go, what they study, and what effect this has on your campus and community.



  • The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 6 percent to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011/12 academic year. 
  • This 2011/12 data marks the sixth consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education; there are 31 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than there were a decade ago. 
  • New enrollments in 2011 were up 7 percent from the prior year.
  • Chinese student enrollments increased by 23 percent in total and by 31 percent at the undergraduate level.
  • Top 5 countries of origin: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada. 
  • The state of California hosted more than 100,000 international students for the first time this year, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois.
  • A fall 2012 snapshot survey on international student enrollments also reports on impact of international students from China on U.S. campuses; engagement with Brazil; and on students affected by Arab Spring events.
  • The number of Americans receiving credit for study abroad in 2010/11 increased by 1 percent to a total of 273,996.
  • The number of U.S. students studying abroad increased in 17 of the top 25 destination countries; 5 percent more students studied in China and 12 percent more students studied in India.  However, a 33 percent drop in the number of students going to Japan (with programs disrupted by the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami), and a 42 percent decrease in U.S. students studying in Mexico, as well as smaller declines in students studying in six of the other top 25 host countries, kept the total study abroad number from showing a more robust increase in 2010/11. 
  • American students studying abroad still represent a small proportion of total enrollment in U.S. higher education. About 14 percent of American students receiving Bachelor’s degrees this past year have studied abroad at some point during their undergraduate programs, while only 1 percent of U.S. students are studying abroad during a single academic year (273,996 out of the almost 20 million students enrolled in U.S. higher education).
  • Top 5 destination countries: UK, Italy, Spain, France and China.  
  • There were significant increases in the number of Americans studying in several non-traditional destinations: China, Costa Rica, India, Brazil and South Korea. 
  • In addition to the sharp declines in numbers going to Japan and Mexico, there were also declines in Americans studying in Australia, Greece, Argentina and New Zealand.
Read full announcements and access data from the new Open Doors Report and fall snapshot surveys at www.iie.org/opendoors.
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