Published November 16, 2016
The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released yesterday in Washington, D.C., by the Institute of International Education (IIE), announced that for the 14th straight year, UB is among the top 25 U.S. institutions hosting international students.
UB’s total of 7,026 international students for the 2015-16 academic year is a 2.5 percent increase over 2014-15 and places the university 21st among the approximately 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions surveyed.
UB ranks third in New York State — behind only New York University and Columbia and ahead of all other SUNY institutions. UB has a total enrollment of about 29,000 students.
International students at UB hail from 115 different countries. The largest numbers come to the university from China, India, South Korea, Canada, Malaysia and Iran.
“While the election season has raised questions about America’s commitment to diversity, UB recognizes the many benefits we derive from a diverse faculty and student body. Our international students contribute to that diversity in a vital, impactful way,” said Stephen Dunnett, vice provost for international education.
New York State, with a total international enrollment of 114,316 students, is second among the 50 states for international student enrollment, according to the report. The figure represents an increase of 7.1 percent over last year.
In 2015-16, the number of international students enrolled in U.S higher education also increased by 7.1 percent, to 1,043,839, topping 1 million for the first time. International students now represent just over 5 percent of the more than 20,000,000 students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities.
An increasing number of students are crossing the globe to gain practical, international experience that they can apply in their careers and life in a global society, Dunnett said.
For example, Devashish Agarwal is in his junior year at UB, majoring in computer science with a business minor. From Agra, India, Agarwal chose UB for dual reasons: “I wanted a school that offered scholarships and is very well-rated in the major rankings,” he said.
“UB’s size has allowed me to go out of my comfort zone, meeting people from around the world. That should be helpful in a career in technology management.”
Ling Zhai, a graduate student from China who’s studying foreign and second language education, was attracted to UB’s size and language programs. “I wanted an opportunity to do research,” she said. “I am involved in a project that is about growing multilingualism in early childhood — 3 and 4-year olds.
“I am finding UB’s diversity to be a perfect fit in that area,” she said. “You can hear many different languages just walking down the halls. It’s like a small United Nations.”
Diversity was also high on Jin Kim’s list.
“I heard about UB from my uncle,” said Kim, a senior chemical engineering major from Seoul, South Korea. “Then when I was attending a community college in Washington State, a friend of mine came here.
“I was looking for a big university, one that was very diverse. One of my favorite things to do at UB is to go to one of the churches in the community, with a large group of people — all from different countries. It is wonderful.”
The Association of International Educators (NAFSA) has stated that “the economic contributions of international students are in addition to the cross-cultural benefits to classrooms, campus life and communities that can be seen and felt each day.”
Some of these contributions include:
According to the Open Doors report, the numbers of international students at institutions across the U.S. relying on personal and family resources as their primary source of funding rose to 66.5 percent — a slight increase over 2014-15. U.S. colleges and universities also remained a primary source of funding for international students, at 17 percent, followed by 7.4 percent from a foreign government or university.
The Open Doors Report is published annually by the IIE in partnership with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more data, infographics and resources on the 2016 report, visit the Open Doors website.
The 2016 Open Doors report was released on the occasion of the 17th annual celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Education.