The Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs just released their 2016 Open Doors Report, which details information on our country’s population of international students.
According to the report, an increasing number of students are travelling the globe to complete their education and gain valuable personal and professional experience. One of the most impactful outcomes of the report is the finding that during the 2015-16 school year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time. This marked a seven percent increase from the previous academic year, but this impressive number comprises only five percent of the total student population at U.S. education institutions.
More than a third of international students in America studied engineering, math or computer science at their host schools. Many education experts and our private tutors believe that the marked increase in international STEM students may be connected to the 25 percent increase in students from India, more than three quarters of which study in related fields.
The report also states that California was the “top destination” for international students. With 150,000 students in 2015-16, the Golden State also saw the highest increase in foreign student populations of any state. Four of the top 20 U.S. host institutions were in California, with the University of Southern California ranking second overall. While USC also reported that their entire student body includes representatives of 56 countries, rival UCLA states that its freshman class was comprised of students from almost 80 countries.
Even more impressive information from the report is the finding that foreign students spend approximately $5.2 billion annually while living in California. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international students contribute nearly $36 billion to the U.S. economy annually.
Most international students learning in the Golden State were from India, Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Our English tutors were surprised to hear that while students from China and India remained the leading countries of origin, Saudi Arabia’s government-sponsored international scholarship program allowed them to surpass South Korea in becoming the third largest sender of international students to the United States.
Additionally, the Open Doors report found an increase of nearly three percent of U.S. students that received credit for study abroad programs over the previous year, nearly a quarter of which majored in STEM fields. Their findings reflect that data also shows an increasing number of U.S. students participated in non-credit work such as internships and volunteering programs while abroad to gain practical skills.
Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State said, “We need to empower more of America’s future leaders to experience the world beyond our borders. International education helps people develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy, and creates networks across borders that improve international understanding and strengthen the national security of the United States.”
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