Friday, August 7, 2015

Career Opportunities, Quality of Education Draw International Students to U.S. in Record Numbers

By Jordan Friedman
World Education Services
Infographic by Brittney Bodden

In the past decade, the number of international students in the United States has risen more than 50 percent.

In 2004, about 572,500 international students were enrolled in higher education institutions across the U.S. Although that number declined slightly for the next two years, in 2007 it rebounded and since then has risen steadily to more than 886,000.

But why, you may ask, is the U.S. attracting so many students from overseas? Let’s take a look at some of the factors, which include the quality of the education as well as the career opportunities that a U.S. degree can facilitate. 

The Institute of International Education (IIE) has conducted a survey in collaboration with the Academic Cooperation Association focused on 420 international students’ reasons for coming to the U.S. The findings: 83 percent of respondents agreed that “the reputation of academic qualifications and degrees from the U.S.” played a major role in their decision to study there. In addition, 78 percent saw studying abroad in the U.S. as a pathway to better career opportunities, and 77 percent said it was important or very important that their school in the U.S. offered programs in a specific discipline.

Meanwhile, in a more recently published IIE study titled “What International Students Think About U.S. Higher Education,” 75 percent of Chinese respondents cited better career prospects as their primary reason for studying abroad (China is the country that sends the most students to the U.S.).

As for India, which sends the second most students, 76 percent respondents said their number one reason for coming to the U.S. was “the quality or type of academic program.” More than one-third cited career opportunities as their primary reason; one-fifth cited the cultural experience; and 19 percent cited the ability to network and make professional contacts.

So, based on the surveys, there are a number of reasons why this number has risen so dramatically in recent years. Check out the chart below for the numbers:

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