The number of foreign students studying on F-1 visas in the U.S. is at an all time high, reaching a record high of 723,277 in 2010 according to a new report by the Institute of International Education. This is a 4.7 percent increase from a year earlier. Analysts see the trend as confirmation that the U.S. remains the leader in higher education and a magnet for the best and brightest from around the world.
Foreign student enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities has been growing steadily for the past five years, with the majority (21 percent) of international students coming from China. 14 percent of foreign students come from India, while 10 percent hail from South Korea, the report says. Canada and Taiwan round out the top five, with 3.8 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.
According to the report, growth in foreign student enrollment has been an economic boon for the U.S. International students contribute more than $21 billion to the U.S. economy, $10.2 billion more than a decade ago.
While nearly all universities host at least a few foreigners, schools in New York, Texas and California dominate the market with 33 percent of all international students, according to the report. The University of Southern California leads the way with 8,615 international students. The University of Illinois, New York University, Purdue University and Columbia University each attracted more than 7,000 last year, and 13 other universities drew more than 5,000.