Project Atlas | United States | Institute of International Education
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About the United States

Since the late 1940s, more internationally mobile students have studied in the United States than in any other host country. This trend continues to the present day, with over 764,000 international students enrolled in its colleges and universities.

Fast Facts: United States

  • Over 764,000 international students studied in the U.S. in 2011/12. China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada were the top places of origin, accounting for 56 percent of the international students studying in the U.S.
  • Over 273,000 U.S. students studied abroad for academic credit in 2010/11.
  • The Institute of International Education has reported annual international student mobility data for the U.S. through its Open Doors Report for over 60 years.

Source: Open Doors Report 2012, IIE

Places of Origin of International Students in the United States, 2011/12

 Top 10 Places of Origin of International Students in the United States in 2011-2012

Source: Open Doors, 2012


An international student is anyone studying in the U.S. on a non-immigrant, temporary visa that allows for academic coursework. These students include both degree and non-degree students.

The term study abroad refers to a U.S. national studying outside of the U.S. for any part of their academic coursework. Many U.S. students study abroad for only a semester or other short-term sessions, though some do attain full degrees abroad.

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