New York University remains one of the top American universities in both attracting international students and in students who study abroad, according to a new study by the Institute of International Education.

NYU Among Leading Universities in Attracting International Students and Students who Study Abroad

NYU was the top institution in students who study overseas, with 4,156 during the 2009-10 academic year—up from 3,524 the previous year, when it was also the leading institution in sending students to study abroad. It was followed by Michigan State University (2,589), the University of Southern California (2,500), UCLA (2,363), and the University of Texas, Austin (2,284).

In 2010-11, the IIE report found, NYU attracted the third-highest number of students from abroad (7,988), behind the University of Southern California (8,615) and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (7,991) and ahead of Purdue University (7,562) and Columbia University (7,297).

The national results appear in Open Doors 2011, the annual report on international education published by IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“NYU is very proud of these findings,” said NYU President John Sexton. “In my three decades at NYU, I have seen our efforts at global educational grow from something quite modest to something far-reaching, pace-setting, and extraordinary: from what was once a small study abroad program and a modest presence of international students and scholars in New York, we have leapt forward to create a global network that includes comprehensive liberal arts and science research university campuses around the world, a wide – and growing – range of study abroad programs in which some 50 percent of our students now participate, the greatest number of any U.S. university, and a large presence of international faculty and students at our Washington Square campus, among the largest at any U.S. university. 

“But this achievement is more than just the successful outcome of our efforts and planning to create an academic environment appropriate for the 21st century; it is also a representation of what is happening in higher education globally.  Talent is found around the world, and to ever greater degrees it flows around the world; that reality will radically re-shape US higher education in the years to come, and will likely cause us even to re-define our concepts of ‘study abroad’ and ‘international scholar.’  This is a fascinating time in higher education, and IIE performs a tremendous service to the higher education community in helping us to quantify that changing landscape.”    

NYU has 11 Global Academic Centers and, since 2006, has opened new study-away sites or established partnerships with institutions in Singapore and Tel Aviv. It is developing global academic sites in Washington, DC and Sydney. In August 2010, NYU opened a campus in Abu Dhabi and, in 2013, will open a campus in Shanghai.

China is the leading place of origin for international students in the United States, with 157,588 in 2010-11, followed by India (103,895), South Korea (73,351), Canada (27,546), Taiwan (24,818), Saudi Arabia (22,704), Japan (21,290), Vietnam (14,488), Mexico (13,713), and Turkey (12,184). International students contribute nearly $21 billion to the U.S. economy, through their expenditures on tuition and living expenses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Open Doors 2011 found the leading fields of study of Americans studying abroad are the social sciences (22.3 percent of those studying abroad), business and management (20.8 percent), humanities (12.1 percent), fine or applied arts (8.3 percent), physical/life sciences (7.5 percent), foreign languages (5.8 percent), health professions (4.7 percent), education (4.1 percent), engineering (3.9 percent), math/computer science (1.5 percent), and agriculture (1.3 percent).

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In calculating U.S. students who study abroad, the report relies on data from 2009-10 academic year—rather than the 2010-11 academic year—because these numbers are reported only after students receive credit for their academic programs—typically after they return from their study-abroad experience. By contrast, international students who come to the U.S. are tallied once they are enrolled at American colleges and universities, and these figures are available earlier.


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