International Student Enrollment Doubled Since Great Recession

International enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities has skyrocketed since the 2008 economic downturn, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

The study, based on an analysis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data, found that, from 2008 to 2016, the number of new foreign students at U.S. institutions increased 104 percent. That figure far outpaced overall college enrollment growth, which was 3.4 percent during the same period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The increase was most pronounced at public colleges and universities, which faced budget cuts during the Great Recession and began to rely more heavily on tuition from foreign students, the study noted.

In the years immediately preceding the Great Recession, growth in the number of new foreign students was more modest, increasing by 20 percent from 2004 to 2007. However, it still outpaced overall U.S. enrollment, which rose 7.2 percent over the same period.


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