Graduates in the audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys commencement in Cambridge, Mass. on June 3, 2016.
Graduates in the audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys commencement in Cambridge, Mass. on June 3, 2016. David L. Ryan—Boston Globe/ Getty Images

International Students in U.S. Colleges and Universities Top 1 Million

Nov 14, 2016

The number of international students in U.S. colleges and universities grew by 7.1%, topping one million in the 2015-16 academic year, according to new federal data released Monday.

China is the largest sender of international students to the U.S., with Chinese students accounting for 31.5% (328,547) of all international enrollments (1,043,839) in the U.S., according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). China is followed by India (165,918), Saudi Arabia (61,287), South Korea (61,007) and Canada (26,973).

The number of American students studying abroad has steadily increased. There were more than 100,000 more students studying abroad in 2014-15 compared to a decade before. The top four countries of choice are all in Europe (U.K., Italy, Spain and France), followed by China.

These numbers risk shrinking in the future, the IIE said. The report highlights concerns by higher education institutions that the election of Donald Trump might negatively impact the future enrollment of international students. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Jason Lane, chairman of the Department of Education Policy and Leadership at the University at Albany-SUNY, said that international students "will be concerned about what the political environment mean" for them. "I think there will be a short-term chilling effect on international students coming here not unlike there was after 9/11," he said.

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