NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Foreign Study A Two-Way Street

December 7, 1999

A record number of American students studied abroad for credit in the 1997-98 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education. And foreign students enrolled in U.S. colleges in record numbers during the 1998-99 school year.

  • The number of U.S. students studying abroad climbed 15 percent to 113,959 -- about 10 percent of the four-year undergraduate population.
  • St. Olaf College in Minnesota sent the greatest proportion of its students abroad for study at some point in their college careers, 94 percent to 31 different nations -- while Michigan State University had the largest number of foreign-study participants, 1,454.
  • Foreign enrollment in the U.S. increased 2 percent in the 1998-99 year, with Asian students making up more than half that number.
  • China led as the country of origin for foreign students, with 51,001 sent here -- followed by Japan, the previous year's leader.

New York University's foreign enrollment was the largest of any U.S. school, followed by Boston University and the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

California enrolled the most foreign students, followed by New York and Texas.

About two-thirds of foreign students receive most of their funds from family and personal sources. And more than three-fourths received most of their funding from sources outside the U.S.

Sources: Mary Beth Marklein, "American Colleges Keep Opening Gates Wider to Foreigners," and "Global Society Makes Study Abroad Crucial," USA Today, December 6, 1999.


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