Record Number of Foreign Students in USA, But Why?

Raghuram Sukumar Edu News 22 Comments

New annual report from Open Doors (IIE) was published yesterday shows 723,277 Foreign students in USA during 2010/2011 academic year.

Thats an increase of 4.7% compared to previous year – 690,923.

Open Doors – Report

Why the influx of foreign students in USA?

  • Not good quality schools in home countries?
  • Growing economy in other countries?
  • Parents earning more money to send students to USA for education?

No, above 3 can be a small contributing factor, but main reason is explained by Allan Goodman, president of the IIE. In his recent interview at NPR, he says international students pump more than $21 billion into the U.S. economy.

Yes, they pay tuition but they also rent their housing, they buy a computer, they buy books, they buy clothing. They contribute not just to the college, but to the broader community. They often pay full tuition, and universities hit by state budget cuts say that’s one reason they’re recruiting more foreign students.

Quick Facts about Foreign Students

Top Countries

  1.  China (157,558)
  2. India (103,895)
  3. South Korea (73,351)

Top Universities

  1. US (8.615)
  2. University of Illinois (7,991)
  3. NYU (7,988)

Top US states

  1. California (96,535)
  2. New York (76,888)
  3. Texas (61,636)

Total Students

  1. 2010/2011 (723,277)
  2. 2009/2010 (690,923)
  3. 2008/2009 (671,616)
  4. 2000/2001 (547,867)

Still California leads number of foreign students in USA, followed by New York and Texas.

And the as per the report, less than two percent of American students studied abroad in the 2009 and 2010 school year.


  1. I don’t know where you getting your statistics from,,,NYT or LAT,,,but let me tell you there are universities like IVY LEAGUE COLLEGES they give financial aid for International students,,,so that’s choice for POOR brilliant students,,,Than for middle-class narrow minded guys like they got universities like SUNY,CSU and some state&public universities that cost around 8 lac p.a. some with scholarship,,some without,,,,,and than comes the turn of Rich Bit*hes for them we got,,universities like USC,UCLA,DUKE,WISCONSIN,MICHIGAN,,,there are god-damn myriad of possibilities for quality education,,let me tell you my cousin study in McGILL and my uncle is professor in GERMANY so I know how much it costs,,,around a crore to get graduated whereas you can get it done from USA with 40 lakhs and tons of international exposure and fluency in US’ DE-FACTO ENGLISH it’s worth every peny,,,,SO No disrespect but my perception is in complete contrast with yours ,,,,and Tyour point:”That finding echoes the results of a recent Inside Higher Ed survey that concluded that more universities are seeking students based on their ability to pay” I AGREE rather I say all select on this basis ,,,, as they don’t want a beggar travelling all over the Earth to USA just for begging,,,,I think you got my point,,,,YEAH JUST LIKE THAt!!
    With all due respect I know you would be thinking of me as an assshole but I’m not that stupid,,,You are doing a great job,,I think your blog is best in the world regarding study abroad and I HAD subscribed to your newsletter from 2009,,aGAIN SORRY FOR BEING AN ASSHOLE,,,,,PLEASE KEEP IT UP Don’t ever listen to guys like me actually we are not your critics we are HATERS,,I know you don’t need my appreciation,,,but I’ll appreciate your work

  2. Hi HSB,

    The reasons could be many since we can not take data for a decade and compare them in this super fast changing times. If we take mobile phone series as example we’ll get a new series in every 6months. Like-wise the mind-set of students and their maturity levels has drastically changed since 2000-01 and 2010-11. In the year 2000 a student from middle class family would have more than happy to opt out for a government job and ready to sacrifice his PG admission since he got a feeling of he already settled in life by getting a govt job. But if you take the current students 0they are ready to quit their jobs for their MS or MBA (PG) admissions since they know the weight of PG in their CVs.

    Coming to Indian education system though we are ready to spend lacs of rupees here we are not sure of the quality of the programs except IIMs and IITs which has limited number of seats and competition is like huge figures. And unfortunately the factors like no funding, no on campus jobs, lack of international exposure in the students mix and heavy reservations domination where a student without reservation can not survive though he scores 80% in entrance. But the same student who gets 80% in entrance exam get admission with full funding and on campus job in US. So e can not compare our education structure with international education systems. So the rate of students raised since last one decade and it still goes high in coming days.

    Please note: Being an Indian I know the topic reservations is a huge debatable topic and i’ve just used it as one of the reasons that I feel and not for debates.


  3. UG in india and PG in US is the best combo

    the sheer energy and competition and fun in UG india (from a good college )
    nis unparalled when u are younger :0

    and the professinalism and perspicacity of US PG is amazing when u are older n wiser 🙂

  4. Allen Goodmans response does not answer why more students want to come/go to the US.
    I for one feel that parents and students are not just counting the immediate future but are investing for the long term.
    SE Asian countries still have enormous work potential for the foreign returned -just as India had say ten -fifteen years ago. In China you can see the difference-between those who speak English and those who dont: the world is their oyster for those who can speak good American English.
    Very important factor I see in the industry is the many foreign companies coming into these economies-the US educated are ready market because they understand the language and the work culture

    1. Gowri – There are two sides to the admission process right?

      Students applying and University giving admission. Universities could deny admit. Say, they were admitting 100 foreign students last year, they could haev said, we are going to admit only 100 this year inspite of number of applications. Instead they are admitting 120. Why? International students pay out of state fees.

      Univs are having budget cuts, so by admitting more out of state/foreign students, they make more money. Get the point?

      1. So does this indirectly indicate that during this recession period Universities would admit more foreign students? Also does this increase in admits to foreign students have any effect on getting jobs after MS?

      2. So once again HSB you are saying that US universities will admit you for money and money solely,,,they don’t want to educate foreign students all they need is your dad’s hard-earned money,,huh that;s what you mean,,Alright I got your point it’s very bad that they don’t got any quota system to admit students,,what you want typical INDIAN(HSB),,is that no matter how much population increase or good international students apply they should admit just lets say 100 student,,well your fucked-up mentality can let to the ultimate debacle of you blog,,,,,Watch what you wish for CHUCK

        1. Dude – Do you have any idea what you are talking about? I have access to data and information and you have narrow minded view of the world. Here is more proof –

          That finding echoes the results of a recent Inside Higher Ed survey that concluded that more universities are seeking students based on their ability to pay.

          1. Here is more info for you..

            My point is not bad, my point is based on facts, data unlike yours.

            By the way, I’m waiting for your reply, if you have data to prove it otherwise. I’m pretty sure you are not bigger than NY Times, LA Times, BW or Chronicle of Higher education and have resource to have opposing argument.

          2. As I said, yoiu haven’t answered the questions, but blabbering about some assumed reasoning.

          1. I think he just got his visa and thinks things are picture perfect in US.

          2. Things are never perfect,,,have you ever heard something like Quantum mechanics,,, uncertainties are key for human existence,,, things are better than India,,,CANADA,AUSTRALIA,,,,NZ,,,,NAZIS,,,,,So STFU & don’t spit anything bad about our education system,,,,,we are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!STFU

          3. One things if fore sure, you have some mental issues or difficulty understanding English. You have assumed something, I’m talking about something else in comments and in the article and yoi are blabbering about Indian education system.

            You still haven’t answered the question or statement you made – Universities in doesn’t have quota like India. I gave various sources to disprove that. If you love Indian education system so much why did you get student visa for USA?

          4. i graduated from UPenn in 2000 got my PG from stanford 2005,,,work for TESLA MOTORS,,Do you got any job for me Mr. XYZ,,,,and currently I’m even an adviser,,,,,for international students in CMG and one of my student told me about this site,,u are quite discouraging,,,I can tell after graduating from US university it’s never about money even in recession

    1. Blog post title is not for India. Yes, 1% decrease in India. But 4.7% overall increase, which includes 23% increase form China.

      1. Well, i read the same and also had watched the news that there is a decrease in India students coming to US but as HSB mentioned, it is overall rise for US. China is on top position leading India in students enrolling in US universities. There is a dip from Indian base but other parts have risen a bit… Bangladesh is also a part which is sending more and more students.

Leave a Comment - Your Thoughts Counts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.