Inside Higher Ed reports that in the 2007-08 academic year, more foreign students came to the United States than ever before. The increase is largely due to the high numbers of international students employed off campus through optional practical training (OPT) programs and those enrolled in non-degree or English Language programs.
Some statistical highlights:
- International students in the U.S. increased by 7%.
- Students enrolled in OPT increased by 36.3%, from 41,660 to 56,766.
- Foreign enrollment in intensive English programs increased by 23.5%.
- International students from eight out of the top ten host countries increased, India saw a 12.8% increase, China – 19.8%, and South Korea – 10.8%.
- USC was the leading host institution, followed by NYU, and Columbia.
In addition, the numbers of Americans studying overseas continues to increase, with an 143% increase over the last decade. Europe is still the number one host destination for American students, attracting 57.4% of U.S. students studying abroad. The top five sending institutions were New York University, Michigan State University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and the University of Georgia.
However, Peggy Blumenthal, vice president of the Institute of International Education noted, “The only really discouraging set of numbers are the diversity numbers…For as long as we’ve been collecting data, the diversity of those studying abroad has not really changed at all.”