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Number of Chinese Students in US Grows; More Undergraduates and Intensive English Learners

  • Jessica Stahl

The Institute of International Education has released its annual Open Doors report, which provides data on international students in the U.S. (you might remember we talked about the report this time last year). This year's report covers the 2010/2011 school year and reveals some interesting trends in who's studying in the U.S. and why.

There's a nifty "Fast Facts" PDF if you want to check out some of the trends yourself. Here's what we found interesting:

1) The number of international students in the United States increased by 5% in 2010/2011.

2) Once again, that growth comes largely from China, which had a 23% increase in international students.

3) Other major increases were from Saudi Arabia (up by 43.6%), Iran (up by 18.9%), and Vietnam (up by 13.5%). That moved Iran into the top 25 places of origin, placing it at spot #22.

4) The number of Indian students actually decreased by 1%, apparently falling for the first time in 5 years.

5) Last year there were about 20,000 more international graduate students than undergraduates. This year that gap has narrowed to just about 5,000. China had 43% more undergraduate students this year.

The proportion of undergraduate to graduate students has fluctuated over the past decade – in 2000/2001 there were more undergraduate than graduate international students, but since then it has skewed the opposite direction.

6) The total number of international students in non-degree programs was up 8%, and in intensive English programs alone increased 24%.

7) Business/management is still the top field studied, and continues to grow. Engineering, math/computer science, life sciences, social sciences, fine arts and health all attracted more international students, while education, humanities and agriculture attracted less.