NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Record Numbers Of Foreign Students Studying In U.S.

November 13, 2000

A new report from the Institute of International Education reveals that foreign students are flocking to U.S. colleges and universities. At the same time, however, the proportion of foreign students studying abroad who choose to study in the U.S. has declined.

  • In the 1999-2000 academic year, 514,723 foreign students attended U.S. schools.
  • A decade ago, 40 percent of foreign students studying outside their home countries elected to come to the U.S. -- a figure which has fallen to 30 percent.
  • Although international students make up only 3 percent of the nation's college student population, they add more than $12 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • China sends the most students to the U.S., with India second.

International students are increasingly enrolling in community colleges. Todd Davis, editor of the report, attributes that trend to their desire for "a good, solid education at a lower cost."

Washington, D.C., Boston and Los Angeles each attract roughly 25,000 students. Other popular study destinations are Chicago and San Francisco.

Sources: Andrea Billups, "Foreigners Flood Halls of Higher Learning," Washington Times, November 13, 2000; also, Mary Beth Marklein, "USA Less Attractive to Foreign Students," USA Today, November 13, 2000.


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