Nearly Half of all Int’l Students in the US Enrolled at 100 Institutions

You’ve heard about concentration of wealth and income.  What about international students?  It might surprise you to learn that 429,921 international students out of 886,052 in the US are enrolled at 100 institutions.  To put this in perspective keep in mind that about 1500 US colleges and universities out of nearly 4,000 regionally accredited schools reported international enrollments ranging from 10 to over 11,000 last year.  New York University (NYU) claimed the top spot, according to Open Doors 2014.

While the top five host states are California (over 100,000), New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois, these 100 colleges and universities are spread out over 27 states, also including Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin

Two related facts:

  • the top 200 enroll over two-thirds of all international students
  • the top 300 enroll over 75% of all international students

Some of these institutions are a “brand” and have no need to recruit internationally.  They built it (a long time ago) and they continue to come – in droves.  Many, however, have very active international recruitment operations.

Another way of looking at the overall statistical picture is that about 80% of institutions with 10 or more international students enroll less than 20% of the national total.  639, or 43%, host fewer than 100 international students.  Many of these schools are new to international recruitment, pressured by demographic and financial imperatives and the concomitant need to make up for the current shortfall of domestic students by recruiting beyond the borders of the US.


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