News / Asia

Chinese Top List of International Students in US

Ira Mellman

China is now sending more college students to study in the United States than any other country.

Listen to Ira Mellman's interview with Peggy Blumenthal

A new report shows a 23 percent increase in the number of Chinese students coming to the U.S.

The latest edition of the annual Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report says there are now over 157,000 Chinese students at U.S. colleges and universities.

“They really enroll in a full range of US higher education,” said Peggy Blumenthal, Senior Counselor to the President of the Institute of International Education, the group that compiled the report.

Institute of International Education map of international student origins

A global view of the countries of origin for international students in the U.S.
Courtesy: Institute of International Education

“Ten, 20 years ago, students from China only knew of a handful of US institutions, but now, they are enrolling in our community colleges, in our small liberal arts institutions, in the research universities. Really spread across the country,” she said.

Blumenthal attributes the increase in the number of Chinese students heading to U.S. colleges to not enough capacity at home for all of the Chinese students who want a college education as well as the feeling that students and their parents are looking for a “unique” educational experience here.

Screenshot of interactive students' toolTo view the rest of the IIE's fields of study rankings and analyze more trends related to international students in the U.S., use the interactive tool above.


China’s one child policy, says Blumenthal, has led to a situation that resources are being concentrated by families on a single child, thereby allowing them to get the best education they can get.

India is second on the list, with more than 104,000 students studying in the United States. South Korea places third with more than 72,000 students.  The Asian region now makes up a majority of the total international student population.

Listen to Ira Mellman's interview with Pete Angelis

UCLA, The University of California at Los Angeles has one of the largest Asian student populations of any college in the United States.

Peter Angelis, UCLA’s assistant vice chancellor for housing and hospitality puts that number at about 40 percent, with the percentage growing every year.

The Yuzu Kosho chicken sandwich is one of many new food offerings at UCLA.
The Yuzu Kosho chicken sandwich is one of many new food offerings at UCLA.

After surveys found that students wanted more Asian cuisine choices, the university opened a new food venue called Feast at Rieber.

Angelis said “the best way to celebrate UCLA’s cultural diversity is through cuisine and through food.”

He said the $5.1 million renovation of the Rieber Dining Hall created a contemporary look for serving numerous Asian cuisines.  Staff members, who underwent extensive training before Rieber opened, greet students when they enter the hall with salutations in different languages.

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