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UB Now Ranks 12th Among Top U.S. Campuses In International Enrollment

In a year showing a smaller increase in international students than usual, UB's enrollment is up

Release Date: November 17, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo, long a leader among major American research universities in the percentage of international students enrolled, ranked 12th among the top 25 U.S. campuses hosting international students in 2009-10, up from 2008-09, when it ranked 17th.

Among New York State institutions of higher education, last year only New York University and Columbia University enrolled more international students than UB.

The data comes from the "Open Doors 2010" report issued Nov. 15 by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The report lists UB's 2009-10 international student enrollment at 4,911 or 17 percent of its total student enrollment of 28,881. In the 2008-09 academic year, UB's international enrollment constituted 12 percent of total enrollment.

The 5 percent increase in UB enrollment since last year also is markedly higher than the 1.5 percent increase among all U.S. institutions.

The economic benefit of international students to Western New York this year was $92.5 million as of September, according to a report by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.

"I am delighted that UB continues to be such an attractive destination for international students from around the world," said Stephen C. Dunnett, PhD, vice provost for international education at UB.

"They appreciate what UB can offer: distinguished faculty and superb teaching, outstanding academic programs and cutting-edge research opportunities. UB's relatively low costs compared to other U.S. research universities make it an excellent value for international students, who are largely self-funded," he said.

"Moreover, they recognize that UB provides international student services and support that are second to none. The entire university community has a role in making UB such a welcoming and supportive place for our international students," Dunnett said.

The IIE report covers international education activities during a period of economic downturn in the United States and in many countries around the world, which may be why the number of international students at colleges and universities in the U.S. increased by only 1.5 percent last year (after increases of 8.3, 10.0, 10.1 and 15.8 percent from 2005-06 to 2008-09, respectively).

Nevertheless, the IIE says even that small increase represents a record high enrollment of 690,923 international students in U.S. institutions in 2009-10.

In all, the report indicates that international students contribute more than $20 billion to the U.S economy through their expenditures on tuition and living expenses, and that higher education is among the United States' top services sector exports.

New York ranks second among the states in the number of international students enrolled -- a total of 76,146 this year -- and realized a state economic benefit of $2.296 billion, $92.5 million of which, as noted above, directly benefited Western New York.

Details of the "Open Doors Report 2010" are available online at http://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors.

Its data reveals a complicated picture of international student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities, with enrollment patterns varying widely according to place of origin and academic level.

For instance, there were strong increases in the number of incoming students from a few countries, but more than half of the top 25 sending countries showed decreases, resulting in the slower rate of overall growth than in recent years. Nevertheless, each of the top five U.S. host states -- California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois -- saw increases in the number of international students they hosted.

"Open Doors 2010" reports increases in foreign student enrollments from five of the 10 leading places of origin, and 11 of the top 25. There was a 30 percent increase in the number of students coming to the U.S. from China and an increase of 25 percent from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is now the seventh leading sending country, a result of the Saudi government's substantial investment in study abroad scholarships.

Increases in enrollments of 6 percent or less were reported from India, Vietnam, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Nigeria, Malaysia and Venezuela. Vietnam showed a 2 percent increase, compared to the more than 45 percent increases it had shown in the previous two years.

There was a 2 percent increase in the number of students from India, a lower rate of increase than in previous years, although Indians remain the second largest international student group. There are tens of thousands more students from India attending college in the U.S. than from any other country except China.

Among the other leading places of origin, the most notable decline was seen among Japanese students, with a 15 percent decline following a 14 percent drop the previous year; Japan is No. 6 this year among sending nations. The number of students from Mexico decreased by 9 percent, those from Indonesia decreased by 7.5 percent, and there was an 8 percent drop in Kenyan students.

There was a decline of 5 percent or less in the number of students from the other leading senders: South Korea, Canada, Taiwan, Nepal, Germany, Thailand, Hong Kong, Colombia, Pakistan and Russia. A 3 percent decline in Nepal's enrollment reverses the large increases of recent years, most recently 30 percent in 2008-09.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Patricia Donovan
News Content Manager, Arts and Humanities, Public Health, Social Sciences
Tel: 716-645-4602
pdonovan@buffalo.edu