25 U.S. Colleges With the Highest Percentages of International Students

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The demographics of United States colleges have changed rapidly in the past few decades, and the number of international students is no exception. According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of students from other countries rose 10% in 2015, alone, building off a 73% increase over the past decade.

The majority of these students come from China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, all nations that have seen rising wealth and expanding upper-middle classes in the past decade. While these students only make up about 5% of all college students in the United States, they contribute over $35 billion a year to the U.S. economy, according to the Institute of International Education. 

One of the biggest reasons for this increase? It allows universities to rake in more cash. While 57% of domestic students receive financial aid, the Institute of International Education reports that only 17% of international students receive aid from their universities. They also incur additional fees, driving tuition costs above those of out-of-state domestic students. At the University of Washington, which boasts a 17% international-student body, foreign students pay $51,321 a year in tuition, almost five times that of an in-state student.

But being a foreign student also comes with its challenges. Applying for educational visas is a complicated process, especially for students coming from countries with restricted immigration policies.

Moreover, the U.S. has become less friendly to foreign students. The recent immigration ban restricting travel of citizens from Muslim countries affected approximately 17,000 foreign students in the U.S., the Washington Post reported. This has left educational institutions like those on our list scrambling to help their students.

Some of the colleges on this list may be small, but they also have the highest percentage of foreign students in the U.S. Many offer strong engineering programs, the course of study for over 20% of students from other countries, according to the Institute of International Education.

1. Florida Institute of Technology

College student takes exam

College student takes exam | iStock.com/Tomwang112

  • Location: Melbourne, FL
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 33%

Over half of the school’s students study engineering, so it’s no surprise that Florida Institute of Technology attracts the growing number of foreign students also interested in these fields.

2. New School

Midtown Manhattan skyline

Midtown Manhattan skyline | iStock.com/Ultima_Gaina

  • Location: New York, New York
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 32%

Based in one of the most international cities in the United States, the New School is an attractive option for foreign students who want to feel more at home.

3. Illinois Institute of Technology

Modern equipped assembly hall

Modern assembly hall | iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 26%

Illinois Institute of Technology offers Bulgarian students the opportunity to apply for the Dimiter Etimov scholarship, which covers full tuition and living expenses.

4. University of Tulsa

tulsa city skyline

Tulsa city skyline | iStock.com/alex grichenko

  • Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 26%

According to its website, University of Tulsa boasts “more than 1,200 students from 79 countries.”

5. Suffolk University

aerial view of the Charles River, Massachusetts State House

An aerial view of the Charles River and Massachusetts Statehouse | iStock.com/GrandviewGraphics

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 23%

Despite the large enrollment of foreign students at other Boston-area schools, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Suffolk University claims the largest percentage of students from other countries.

6. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University view in Pittsburgh

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh | iStock.com/tupungato

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 22%

In the past decade, the number of students from other countries at Carnegie Mellon has doubled to over 5,000 students. The school boasts a foreign student body composed of 87% Asian students.

7. Brandeis University

Two students sit outside at Brandeis University

Two students sit outside at Brandeis University | Three Lions/Getty Images

  • Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 20%

Since it was established in 1958, Brandeis’ Wien International Scholarship Program has brought over 860 honors students from 112 countries to the school, 37% of whom were women.

8. Northeastern University

Boston skyline in Massachusetts

Boston skyline in Massachusetts | iStock.com/movinggstill

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 20%

After New York and Los Angeles, Boston boasts the third most foreign students. In 2012, the Institute of International Education ranked Northeastern University as the sixth most popular institution of higher education for foreign students.

9. University of San Francisco

San Francisco Panorama

San Francisco | iStock.com/kropic

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 19%

This Jesuit university enrolled 1,765 international students in fall 2016.

10. Andrews University

group of girls studying

Group of girls studying | iStock.com/Brainsil

  • Location: Berrien Springs, Michigan
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 18%

Andrews University was the first educational institution established by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church has nearly 20 million members around the world.

11. Purdue University

Buildings and skyline on the campus of Purdue University

Campus of Purdue University | iStock.com/sgoodwin4813

  • Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
  • School type: Public
  • Percentage of international students: 18%

Purdue has the third most foreign students of any public university in the United States.

12. University of Rochester

University of Rochester

University of Rochester | iStock.com/jimfeng

  • Location: Rochester, New York
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 18%

Between 2010 and 2015 the number of foreign students at University of Rochester increased 72%.

13. Emory University

Exteriors of Emory University Hospital

Emory University Hospital | John E. Davidson/Getty Images

  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 17%

Emory currently educates students from more than 100 countries.

14. New York University

Street view of New York University NYU in Greenwich Village Manhattan

New York University in Manhattan | iStock.com/littleny

  • Location: New York, New York
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 17%

While New York University only ranks 14th in its percentage of students from other countries, in 2014 it boasted the highest total number of foreign students.

15. Alliant International University

student studying

College student studies | iStock.com

  • Location: San Diego, California
  • School type: For-profit
  • Percentage of international students: 16%

Alliant is the only institution in the top 25 without nonprofit status.

16. University at Buffalo-SUNY

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Students sitting in university atrium | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

  • Location: Buffalo, New York
  • School type: Public
  • Percentage of international students: 16%

The University at Buffalo is a school in the State University of New York system and the only SUNY school to make the list.

17. University of Illinois

Univsersity of Illinois in Champaign

University of Illinois | iStock.com/dwhob

  • Location: Champaign, Illinois
  • School type: Public
  • Percentage of international students: 16%

Between 2000 and 2015 the number of Chinese undergraduates at the University of Illinois increased from 37 to 3,000.

18. Clark University

Students study together for the university exam

Students study together for the university exam | iStock.com/Ridofranz

  • Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 15%

The Clark Global Scholars Program offers up to $25,000 in financial aid per year to selected international students.

19. University of Washington

University of Washington campus

University of Washington campus | iStock.com/july7th

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • School type: Public
  • Percentage of international students: 15%

China, Korea, and India send the most students to this Seattle-based public university.

20. Columbia University

Columbia University

Columbia University | iStock.com/peterspiro

  • Location: New York, New York
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 14%

Forbes ranked Columbia the fourth best college for international students based on factors, including the school’s overall quality and graduation rate.

21. University of California-Berkeley

University of California-Berkeley

University of California-Berkeley | iStock.com/Kirkikis

  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • School type: Public
  • Percentage of international students: 14%

In 2015, over 7,000 international students matriculated to the Bay Area school. According to the Institute of International Education, this was a 6% increase from 2014.

22. University of Miami

University of Miami campus

University of Miami campus | iStock.com/SandiMako

  • Location: Coral Gables, Florida
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 14%

The People’s Republic of China has 911 citizens enrolled in the University of Miami — four times the number of students produced by the second-ranking country, Kuwait.

23. University of Oregon

Students study together

Students study together | iStock.com/Rawpixel

  • Location: Eugene, Oregon
  • School type: Public
  • Percentage of international students: 14%

Attending the University of Oregon will cost international students just over $50,000 a year. The university offers more than $1.6 million in scholarships to international students each year.

24. Drexel University

Students walk past Drexel University

Students walk at Drexel University | iStock.com/tupungato

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • School type: Private
  • Percentage of international students: 13%

Drexel offers both financial and merit-based aid to international students.

25. Michigan State University

An entrance to Michigan State University

An entrance to Michigan State University | iStock.com/wellesenterprises

  • Location: East Lansing, Michigan
  • School type: Public
  • Percentage of international students: 13%

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon recently spoke out against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. The ban has affected 125 of the school’s students.