The Top 25 Foreign Lands Sending College Students to the U.S.

Young Asian woman in airport.
leungchopan /

American college and graduate education has become a huge industry in the United States. With a reputation for academic excellence, a wide variety of courses and many opportunities to bolster English skills, American schools draw students from around the world.

In 2016, 1.2 million foreign students attended American colleges and universities, according to a Voice of America report. If that number holds (despite a decline in applications in the current year) it would represent about 1 in 20 of the 18 million undergraduate and 3 million postgraduate students the Department of Education expects on U.S. college campuses this fall.

That translates to a contribution of nearly $31 billion a year to the U.S. economy, the U.S. Commerce Department estimates.

The top five U.S. states for hosting international students are California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois, says the Institute of International Education’s 2016 Open Door report. The most popular fields of study are business/management, engineering, and math/computer science. The three schools hosting the most international students are New York University, the University of Southern California and Arizona State University.

Where do foreign students come from? The IIE Open Door report ranks the top 25 places of origin of international students in the U.S. It covers the 2015-16 school year, when the number of international students first topped 1 million and the latest year for which details are available. Here they are:

Popular Articles

These Are the 20 Best Hospitals in the U.S.
These Are the 20 Best Hospitals in the U.S.

A familiar name tops this list.

Never Use a Debit Card to Buy These 9 Things
Never Use a Debit Card to Buy These 9 Things

Use your debit card for one of these expenses, and you could risk your bank account balance, your credit score or even identity fraud.

107 Easy Ways to Make Extra Cash
107 Easy Ways to Make Extra Cash

Need quick cash? Here are lots of easy ways to earn extra money from home, from getting cash back when you shop to getting paid for watching videos and playing games.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started