Universities That Attract the Most International Students

Delece Smith-Barrow

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or graduate school search.

The number of international students is steadily increasing on college campuses. It hit a record high during the 2012-2013 school year, and experts expect that trend to continue.

"Higher education providers in the U.S. can expect strong demand from international students for the next ten years," wrote Alan Ruby in a June 2013 report for NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

[Learn which schools give international students the most financial aid.]

Students from abroad -- 49 percent of whom come from China, India, or South Korea, according to one study -- may have a better chance at finding peers from their home countries at certain schools. In fall of 2012, 29 percent of the 7,010 undergraduates at New School in New York were international students. The New School had the highest enrollment of international students, according to data submitted to U.S. News by 263 ranked schools.

The New School is one of many institutions that regularly have among the highest percentage of international students. Others include the Florida Institute of Technology, which increased its percentage of international students in fall of 2012 to 28 percent, and University at Buffalo--SUNY, where 16 percent of the 19,505 undergraduate candidates were international. Almost every school in the list of institutions with the most international students saw an increase of that student population.

Andrews University in Michigan, which has made the list in past years, also had an increase of international students but not enough to be included among the top 10 schools. In fall of 2011,13 percent of its students were from other countries, but approximately 14 percent were in the fall of 2012. Of the 10 schools with the most international students, Northeastern University had the least with 15 percent.

[Find out how to research U.S. colleges as a prospective international student.]

On average, the 10 schools with the most undergraduate international students had 21 percent of their students hail from abroad; their total undergraduate enrollment, on average, was 9,299. South Carolina State University, which had 3,265 students in fall of 2012, had the lowest percentage of international students: 0.03.

Below are the 10 National Universities where international students make up the largest percentages of the degree-seeking undergraduate student body, based on school-reported enrollment data for fall 2012.

National University (state) Percentage of International Students Total Undergraduate Enrollment U.S. News rank
New School (NY) 29% 7,010 135
Florida Institute of Technology 28% 2,978 167
Illinois Institute of Technology 23% 2,800 109
Lynn University (FL) 22% 1,657 RNP*
University of Tulsa (OK) 22% 3,160 86
Carnegie Mellon University (PA) 18% 6,279 23
Purdue University--West Lafayette (IN) 17% 30,147 68
University at Buffalo--SUNY 16% 19,505 109
University of San Francisco 16% 6,344 117
Northeastern University (MA) 15% 13,107 49

*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its ranking category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find data on international students, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The enrollment data above are correct as of Feb. 11, 2014.