International Spotlight

Illinois top choice for international students among U.S. Public Universities

11/14/2012  8:00 am

More international students chose the University of Illinois than all but one other school in the U.S. in 2011-12, according to the highly-circulated Institute of International Education’s annual Open Doors report released on Monday (Nov. 12).

International enrollment at the U. of I., as compiled for the Open Doors report, was 8,997 as of fall 2011, with 8,648 of those on campus as graduate or professional students (4,201) or as undergraduates (4,447). Total student enrollment was 42,883. 

The other 349 had completed their academic studies but remained in the U.S., working under a program known as Optional Practical Training. (All of the schools’ enrollment numbers include OPT for the purposes of the report.)

The 2011-12 figures place the University behind only the University of Southern California as the choice of international students attending college in the U.S. in the fall of 2011. USC reported 9,269 international students. In addition to adding global diversity to the Illinois campus, international students and their dependents added an estimated $266,168,000 to the local economy in 2011-12, according to NAFSA.

Illinois ranked first among all public institutions, followed by Purdue University and the University of California at Los Angeles. Overall, eight of the top 20 institutions on the Open Doors list, including both publics and privates, are Big Ten universities.

Overall, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 6 percent to 764,495 during the 2011-12 academic year, according to the Open Doors report. This represents a record high number of international students in the United States, driven largely by a 23 percent increase in the number of Chinese students.

The Institute of International Education has conducted an annual census of international students in the U.S. since its founding in 1919. Open Doors has been published by the Institute since 1949, and has received support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State since the 1970s.

To view the 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, visit the website at: