Europe still the top destination for US students

The UK remains the top destination for students from the US looking to study abroad.

November 14, 2011

The Open Doors 2011 survey, published today by the Institute of International Education, reveals that there was a 4.3 per cent increase in the number of students opting to study in the UK in 2010-11, above the average overall increase of 3.9 per cent.

Europe retained its position as the most popular destination: 54.5 per cent of all Americans studying abroad were at a European institution, with 12.1 per cent in the UK.

However, the biggest percentage increases were in more exotic locations, including Israel, which saw a 60.7 per cent rise, and India, up 44.4 per cent year on year.

The Open Doors survey also shows an increase in the number of overseas students opting to study in the US, up 5.7 per cent from the previous year.

However, although this number has increased 32 per cent over the last 10 years, the proportion of international students compared to domestic students has actually dipped slightly, from 3.57 percent in 2000-01 to 3.51 percent in 2010-11.

The data show that over half of the international students in the US come from just five countries: China, India, Korea, Canada and Taiwan.

The biggest percentage increases in 2010-11 were from Saudi Arabia, up 43.6 per cent, and China (23.3 per cent).

California has the most international students, according to the report, with the University of Southern California hosting more than any other institution in the country.

The report also shows that over two-fifths of international students in the US are either pursuing degrees in business and management or engineering.

Meanwhile Nafsa, the association of international educators, has released an annual report (partially based on the findings of the Open Door study) showing the financial contributions of international students to the US economy.

Overall, it finds, international students contribute $20.23 billion (£12.59 billion) to the US economy in tuition fees and living expenses.

The top five states benefiting financially from international students are: California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Despite Nafsa’s findings, the Open Doors survey shows that government and institutional support for encouraging international students to attend US institutions has declined.

Fewer students in 2010-11 were sponsored by US universities, the US government or a US-based private sponsor than in the previous year.

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