Studying Abroad: A Growing Trend for Inbound and Outbound Students

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College-bound individuals are setting their sights farther than ever


While parents cling to their young ones, these budding, college-bound individuals are setting their sights farther than ever for educational prospects according to the latest report from Annual Open Doors. There has been a 10% increase to the number of foreign students who have chosen to study in America, and Americans are fleeing the nest 5% more often than in previous years. These percentages may not seem like they would have a major impact, but when translated into numbers, the reality changes.

There are currently close to one million foreign students studying on American soil and well over a quarter of a million US citizens studying abroad.

Growing International Presence

The increase in international students isn’t from a single source, though India has seen an especially dramatic rise in numbers of students studying in the US (a 30% increase), making it the second largest source country for international students in the US (with 102,673 students studying abroad in 2013-2014). China still holds the top spot, with 274,439 students studying abroad that same year, though China's percentage increase was considerably lower than India's, at only 11%. Also interesting to note is that as more Indians head to the US for school, fewer are studying abroad in the UK.

Brazil is also making tremendous strides towards sending students to America for college, experiencing a 78% increase over the last three years. Both Brazil and Saudi Arabia (up by 11.2%) encourage studying abroad by offering students scholarships, though Brazil may be looking at a cessation of these funds with the current instability of their economy.

Number of Students Studying Abroad According to Country

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* The full chart can be viewed here.

International Presence Across the States

International students are scattered across American campuses, with the following universities having the greatest bulk of the foreign student enrollment (from greatest to least): New York University, the University of Southern California, Columbia University, Arizona State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northeastern University, Purdue University and the University of California at Los Angeles.

What is even more interesting to note is the level of education at which these individuals are training:

• Nearly half of international students are undergraduates (40.9%).
• 37.2% are at graduate level.
• 12.3% are currently doing optional practical training, a post-grad on the job training program.

American Students Studying Abroad

As the influx of international students increases within US borders, Americans are also expanding their horizons by opting to study overseas. The 5.2% increase is the largest one we’ve seen in the past five years, denoting a possible shift towards this more expansive experience. Students are remaining loyal to specific locations, however, not deviating much from previous years, with the top five locations including the UK, Italy, Spain, France and China.

Financial Aid and Health Insurance for International Students; Listen to the podcast

* The full chart can be viewed here.

The length of time for annual study abroad also continues to remain steady, averaging an eight-week or less duration for 62.1% of students.

Study Abroad Students Demographics

In terms of who is traveling farther for their studies, the female demographic continued to dominate over males, 65% over 34%. However, racial distinctions are beginning to shift, showing an increase of 2% in non-white students going abroad.

Subjects that continue to be a focus for students studying abroad include:

• 22.6% science, technology, engineering and mathematics
• 19.6% business
• 18.7% social sciences
• 7.8% foreign language and international studies
• 7% fine or applied arts

The increase in both inbound and outbound students continues to grow steadily through encouragement on a government level. One question remains unanswered, though, is what universities are doing to accommodate these climbing figures?

Thinking of studying abroad? Or are you an international student in the US? Learn about international financial aid from our podcast. We can also help with applications to programs overseas, or help international candidates with the application process for US programs. Contact us!

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Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays
• Financial Aid and Health Insurance for International Students
• 10 Facts About International College Students

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