International students in the United States and study abroad by American students are at an all-time high

The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange,released this week, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high of 886,052 students in the 2013/14 academic year, confirming once again that the United States remains the destination of choice for higher education. The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, with almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country.  The report also found that more American students – a total of 289,408 – studied abroad for academic credit from their U.S. colleges and universities, although the two percent increase represents a slightly slower rate of growth than the previous year.

In total, 1,716 South African students are currently enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions.  Currently, 57% of South African students are studying for undergraduate degrees; and 29% are pursuing graduate degrees.  The top 5 states where South African students are studying include:  (1) New York (2) California, (3) Texas, (4) Massachusetts, and (5) Pennsylvania.

In addition, 5,337 American students studied in South Africa last year, 17.6 percent more than the previous year.

The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in South Africa maintain three EducationUSA Advising Centers in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg where South Africans may obtain information about study opportunities in the U.S. (see:

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates also offer Fulbright grants for study and research in the U.S. (see: and several other exchange programs for short-term programs in the U.S. (see:

“International education is crucial to building relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world. It is through these relationships that together we can solve global challenges like climate change, the spread of pandemic disease, and combatting violent extremism,” said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We also need to expand access to international education for students from more diverse backgrounds, in more diverse locations of study, getting more diverse types of degrees. Only by engaging multiple perspectives within our societies can we all reap the numerous benefits of international education – increased global competence, self-awareness and resiliency, and the ability to compete in the 21st century economy,” Assistant Secretary Ryan remarked.

“International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education, and study abroad should be viewed as an essential element of a college degree,” remarked IIE’s President Dr. Allan E. Goodman. “Learning how to study and work with people from other countries and cultures also prepares future leaders to contribute to making the word a less dangerous place.”

The new Open Doors data was released on the occasion of the 15th annual celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. This year’s statistics document how much more global U.S. higher education has become since the launch of the initiative

The overall number of international students in the United States has grown by 72 percent since the first International Education Week briefing was held in 2000. There are five times as many Chinese students on U.S. campuses as were reported in Open Doors 2000; almost two and a half times as many Indian and Vietnamese students; and more than ten times as many Saudi students. The number of U.S. students studying abroad has more than doubled in the last 15 years.

Note to editors: Fast facts, mobility data from selected countries and each U.S. state, and executive summaries of the Open Doors 2014 findings were made available on November 17 at


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Open Doors is published by the Institute of International Education, an independent not-for-profit organization with a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. Open Doors also reports on the number of international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad. Further details on the Open Doors 2014 surveys and their findings is on the Open Doors website at, and the full 100+ page report can be ordered for $69.95 from IIE Books  at

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State leads a wide range of academic, professional, and cultural exchanges that include approximately 40,000 participants annually, including the flagship Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program, with the goal of increasing mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. ECA also sponsors the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for U.S. undergraduates with financial need, administered by IIE, and the Critical Language Scholarship Program in support of U.S. study abroad and the EducationUSA network of over 400 advising centers worldwide, which provides information to students around the globe who wish to study in the United States. For more information on the Department of State’s educational and cultural exchange activities, visit

Commenting on the fact that 90 percent of American undergraduates still do not study abroad, Dr. Goodman said, “We need to increase substantially the number of U.S. students who go abroad so that they too can gain the international experience which is so vital to career success and deepening mutual understanding.”