International Students in the United States and Study Abroad by American Students Are at All-time High

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New 2014 Open Doors Report by Institute of International Education in partnership with U.S. Department of State Shows New York University is #1 for both international students and U.S. study abroad; students from India increase after three years of decline; strong growth from China continues; and study abroad by U.S. students grows, but at a slower rate.

The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight 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. The report also found that more American students – a total of 289,408 – studied abroad for academic credit from their U.S. colleges and universities, although the two percent increase represents a slightly slower rate of growth than the previous year. The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The new Open Doors data was released on the occasion of the 15th annual celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. This year’s statistics document how much more global U.S. higher education has become since the launch of the initiative. The overall number of international students in the United States has grown by 72 percent since the first International Education Week briefing was held in 2000. There are five times as many Chinese students on U.S. campuses as were reported in Open Doors 2000; almost two and a half times as many Indian students, seven and a half times as many Vietnamese students, and more than ten times as many Saudi students. The number of U.S. students studying abroad has more than doubled in the last 15 years.

“International education is crucial to building relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world. It is through these relationships that together we can solve global challenges like climate change, the spread of pandemic disease, and combatting violent extremism,” said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We also need to expand access to international education for students from more diverse backgrounds, in more diverse locations of study, getting more diverse types of degrees. Only by engaging multiple perspectives within our societies can we all reap the numerous benefits of international education - increased global competence, self-awareness and resiliency, and the ability to compete in the 21st century economy,” Assistant Secretary Ryan remarked.

“International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education, and study abroad should be viewed as an essential element of a college degree,” said IIE’s President Dr. Allan E. Goodman. “Learning how to study and work with people from other countries and cultures also prepares future leaders to contribute to making the world a less dangerous place."

Data and infographics from Open Doors 2014 are available on the Open Doors website at, and the full 100+ page report can be ordered from IIE Books at

For more information about the Institute of International Education, an independent not-for-profit organization with a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions, go to:

For more information on the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State, go to: For information on the Department of State’s educational and cultural exchange activities, visit


International Students on U.S. Campuses Are at an All-Time High

  • There were 886,052 international students at colleges and universities in the United States in the 2013/14 academic year. This is an increase of 66,408 students (8%) over the previous year.
  • International students’ spending in all 50 states contributed more than $27 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • Students from China and Saudi Arabia together account for 73 percent of the growth, but a wider range of countries contributed to the increase; India, Brazil, Iran, and Kuwait and together accounted for an additional 18 percent of growth.
  • Top 5 countries of origin: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada.
  • 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.
  • There were eight percent more students from Latin America and Caribbean, which has benefited from support from 100,000 Strong in the Americas, a public-private partnership led by the U.S. State Department.
  • 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. 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, followed by the University of Southern California, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia University and Purdue University.

Study Abroad by U.S. Students Shows Continued Growth, But Still Only 10% of All Undergraduates Study Abroad Before Graduation

  • The number of Americans receiving credit for study abroad in 2012/13 increased by 2 percent to a total of 283,332. 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. To date, 450 partners have joined the campaign.
  • Study abroad by American students has more than doubled in the past 15 years, from about 130,000 students in 1998/99.
  • The top five study abroad destinations for American students are: the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and China.
  • 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.

Sharon Witherell, IIE, (212) 984-5380, switherell(at)iie(dot)org
Elaine Clayton, ECA, (202) 632-6552, ECA-Press(at)state(dot)gov

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