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November 17, 2014 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 this morning, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, with Assistant Secretary of State Evan M. Ryan and IIE President Allan E. Goodman, in conjunction with the 15th annual worldwide observance of International Education Week.

We expect to see press coverage in major news outlets in the United States and around the world beginning today and throughout the week.

To access the new data and background information to help explain the trends, go to www.iie.org/opendoors

We encourage you to share this information with the press office on your campus and to 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.

Read full press release


  • The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8 percent to a record high of 886,052 students in the 2013/14 academic year, confirming once again that the United States remains the destination of choice for higher education. 
  • The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, with almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country. 
  • Top 5 countries of origin: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada. 
  • In 2013/14, there were 66,408 more international students enrolled in U.S. higher education compared to the previous year. While students from China and Saudi Arabia together account for 73 percent of the growth, a wider range of countries contributed to the increase, with India, Brazil, Iran, and Kuwait and together accounting for an additional 18 percent of growth. 
  • The number of Indian students increased by 6 percent to 102,673, reversing a three-year trend of declining numbers of Indian students at U.S. campuses. The increase was driven by enrollment at the graduate level.
  • Chinese student enrollments increased by 17 percent in total to more than 274,000 students, and increased by 18 percent at the undergraduate level. This is a slightly lower rate of growth than the previous year. Students from China now make up 31 percent of all international students in the United States. 
  • The fastest-growing student populations in the United States in 2013/14 were from Kuwait, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, all countries whose governments are investing heavily in scholarships for international studies, to develop a globally competent workforce. 
  • The increased international presence has been felt across the United States, with all of the top 25 host universities and all the top ten states hosting more international students than in the prior year. In 1999/2000, there were 135 institutions that hosted 1,000 or more international students, while the new Open Doors reported 231 institutions hosting 1,000 or more international students in 2013/14.
  • California hosted more than 100,000 international students for the third year in a row, followed by New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois.
  • New York University is now the host of the largest number of international students, moving up from the number four spot. The University of Southern California is now the second leading host, after 12 years as number one. These two universities were followed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia University (moving up to no. 4), and Purdue University. 
  • The number of Americans receiving credit for study abroad in 2012/13 increased by 2 percent to a total of 289,408. This represents a slightly slower rate of growth than the previous year.
  • Despite these increases, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years. Earlier this year, IIE launched Generation Study Abroad, a national campaign to double the number of students who study abroad by the end of the decade. Today, IIE announced that a total of 450 partners have joined the campaign to date.
  • Study abroad by American students has more than doubled in the past 15 years, from about 130,000 students in 1998/99. 
  • 35 campuses had undergraduate study abroad participation rates of more than 70 percent of their student body.
  • U.S. students studied in increasing numbers in 15 of the top 25 destination countries for study abroad in the most recent year. 
  • The United Kingdom remains the leading destination for American students, followed by Italy, Spain, France, and China—which remained the fifth largest host destination despite a 3 percent decrease. 
  • There were significant increases in the number of Americans studying in several destinations outside Europe, primarily Costa Rica, South Africa, South Korea, Peru, and Thailand. There were declines in the number of American students going to China, Australia, Argentina, India, Mexico, Ecuador, Israel, Chile, and New Zealand.
  • American students majoring in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) fields showed the largest increase in study abroad, up 9 percent from the prior year, outnumbering study abroad students in the Social Sciences, the second largest field. Study abroad increased among students majoring in all STEM fields, with the largest growth occurring in the Health Sciences, which increased by fifteen percent.
Read full announcements and access data from the new Open Doors Report and fall snapshot survey at www.iie.org/opendoors.
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