With 5,595 foreign students, the University was ranked as the eighth institution in the nation with the most number of international students, according to a report released yesterday.

By the Numbers

International students in the U.S.

8th
The ‘U’s ranking in the national report of international students on campuses

5,595
Number of international students who studied at the University in 2010-2011

723,277
Number of international students who studied in the U.S. in 2010-2011

$21 billion
Amount international students contributed to the U.S. economy


According to data released yesterday as part of the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors survey the, number of international students studying in the U.S. increased 5 percent in the past year to a total of 723,277 students nationally. For the 10th consecutive year, the University of Southern California topped the list, as 8,615 international students studied at the school in 2010-2011.

In the 2009-2010 academic year, the University of Michigan ranked sixth in the Open Doors survey with 6,095 international students. Despite the decrease in international enrollment during the 2010-2011 academic year, John Greisberger, director of the University’s International Center, said he is pleased with the number.

“It’s a wonderful indication of our internationalization and of our engagement globally — having so many international students here means we have a terrific reputation for academic excellence around the world,” Greisberger said. “Students come here. They want to get a great education.”

China is the largest source of international students for the U.S. and the University. Chinese students currently make up 31.2 percent — or 1,747 students— of the total number of international students at the University, followed by India with 752, South Korea with 687, Taiwan with 287 and Canada with 244 students. , according to a University press release made public yesterday.

Engineering sophomore Ken Ling, president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association on campus — which is primarily made up of international students — said he chose to come to Ann Arbor because he knew that the University’s College of Engineering “is one of the best in America.”

Ling said he believes many students he knows from home who chose to study abroad in the U.S. were seeking a less conservative environment than in China.

“They just feel free here and have their own freedom to study and to communicate with others,” Ling said.

The IIE report also stated that approximately 45 percent of international students currently studying abroad in the U.S. are women. Greisberger said he has worked with international students since the late ‘70s and remembers when international students were primarily male.

“I think it speaks to how the world in general is developing where more women are joining the work force around the world, and they’re seeking higher education here in the United States,” Greisberger said.

Greisberger also explained the benefits of having a large number of international students at the University for students from the U.S.

“It’s great for students that don’t have the opportunity to go abroad for an international education because they can interact here,” he said.

Similarly, Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor to the president of the IIE, said American students benefit from sharing classrooms with international students.

“They become aware of the important global perspectives on whatever topic they’re studying,” Blumenthal said.

According to the IIE, the number of international students in the U.S. also has economic advantages. Through money spent on tuition and other costs of attending college, international students in the U.S. add more than $21 billion to the domestic economy.

While the University and other ranked institutions have a large influx of international students, Blumenthal said there is an imbalance of the number of students the U.S. sends to study abroad. The University is ranked as 16th in the nation for sending the most students abroad, according to Blumenthal.

“The challenge, really, for Michigan, and for all U.S. universities, is to be able to match these flows of talented international students with sending out their own students abroad for a similar kind of experience,” Blumenthal said. “Right now, we have a huge imbalance in international education exchange.”

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