American colleges are educating more international students than ever before, according to a new report, “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange,” released by the Institute of of International Education. The widely anticipated report finds that nearly 1 million international students—many of them from countries such as China, India, Kuwait—were educated in the United States in the 2014-15 school year, up 10 percent from the previous year. These students typically arrive with the means to pay the full price tag for college.
While the 974,926 international students who studied in American colleges last school year accounted for only about 5 percent of the country’s entire higher-education population, their numbers are increasing rapidly with high concentrations in certain states, colleges, and majors. The significant increase in students from overseas highlights the need to understand more about their behavior, income, and impact on higher education—and how the country’s universities should capitalize on the trend without compromising the education of in-state students and residents.
Many of the findings aren’t surprising. International students are concentrated in the states with some of the largest populations or most well-known higher-education institutions: California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois. And the U.S. schools with the highest rates of international enrollment include NYU—which educates a whopping 13,178 students from abroad—the University of Southern California, Columbia, Arizona State, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Overall, international students are attending graduate and undergraduate programs in about equal numbers, with the most popular majors including business and management and the STEM fields.