Students worldwide come to the United States for a world-class education. While most universities welcome these learners, international degree candidates may prefer to attend schools with plenty of international peers. Many institutions with high rates of foreign attendees offer special programs and groups to help students thrive in school. These groups help international learners adjust to their new home and connect with other students experiencing similar challenges.
When a campus houses students from around the globe, American students benefit as well. Duke University reports that these benefits last well beyond graduation. American college students who befriend global classmates are more likely to speak second languages, appreciate other cultures, and understand current events through historical contexts. Because a diverse student body enhances learning, many schools actively recruit students from other countries. These institutions offer scholarships and exciting opportunities to draw bright learners from around the world.
New York University
|New York, NY||
With 17,326 learners from outside of the U.S., NYU easily takes the top spot. Students come from all 50 states and 83 countries to learn at this prestigious university. About 20% of the entering first-year scholars are not American citizens. This university offers international students abundant opportunities. The school’s Office of Global Services handles immigration and visa issues for these learners.
NYU’s American Language Institute (ALI) helps degree candidates hone English language skills. Whether students are brand new to the language or have some proficiency, the ALI can help. Learners can attend semester-long English classes, immersive cultural programs, and business-centric language courses.
The university’s International Student Support Center (ISSC) is another excellent resource. Degree candidates can visit the ISSC lounge to connect with peers, attend cultural events, and get tutoring. The International Student Center brings American and international students together to help them learn from one another.
|New York, NY||
Columbia’s International Students and Scholars Office reports that the university has over 14,000 international learners. This institution doubled its foreign student population since 2008 to reach this number. These degree candidates come from 151 countries. The top three nations that send learners to Columbia are China, India, and Canada.
The ISSO website is a portal for all the paperwork that foreign students must complete. Learners can also find work, childcare, and tax return documents on the website, as well as get help with travel documentation, opening bank accounts, and applying for Social Security numbers.
Students can join any of Columbia’s organizations, allowing them to network with classmates. Groups such as the African Students Association, Columbia Iranian Students Association, Southeast Asian League, and Ukrainian Students Society welcome new members who want to stay connected to their places of origin.
Arizona State University
ASU hosts more than 13,000 international learners on its sunny campus. The university plans to increase that number as part of its business plan, The State Press reports. ASU boasts several resources that help recruit and support these degree candidates.
Much of this support comes from the university’s International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC). This department helps learners and their families move to the United States. It provides necessary documents and guides students through the complex process. Once degree candidates arrive on campus, they can connect with other international classmates. The ISSC hosts weekly workshops for foreign learners to discuss topics like American slang and idioms, sarcasm in English, public speaking, and classroom conversations.
The school also has several student organizations for degree candidates from many different countries. Students can join groups like the Coalition of International Students, African Student Association, and the Brazilian Club.
Northeastern University - Boston
NU is proud to host more than 13,000 international students on its Boston campus. The school’s Office of Global Services (OGS) strives to connect these students to one another, their campus, and the resources they need to succeed. One of the unique features that the OGS offers is a mentorship program where experienced global students help newcomers adjust to life in the United States and at NU. For additional support, degree candidates can visit the We Care office in the OGS. These specially trained workers help learners find the resources they need in Boston.
To help students achieve academic success, the OGS provides workshops, tutoring, and classes. The workshops cover topics like language, culture, and reading. Some of the courses help nonnative speakers learn to write code in English; others help students develop English-speaking skills, including general speech and business communications.
University of California - Los Angeles
|Los Angeles, CA||
This sprawling California campus is the academic home to more than 12,000 international students and scholars. The Dashew Center brings these learners and their domestic classmates together to promote cultural understanding and respect. Some UCLA students volunteer as international student ambassadors who immigrated at least a year earlier. These learners help new classmates from other nations adjust to life in Los Angeles, find ways to connect to the school, and host group discussions.
Similarly, UCLA pairs new foreign learners with domestic students. Together, these pairs do fun activities like hiking, cooking, and attending sporting events. Learners can also join group trips to experience what Los Angeles has to offer.
The Dashew Center hosts several language education programs that help learners work on English skills. Degree candidates can also attend workshops on important topics like interview skills, on-campus employment, and writing in American English.
University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||
This Los Angeles campus is home to 11,387 students from around the world, which amounts to 24.9% of USC’s students. Nearly half of these learners travel from China. USC students also hail from countries such as India, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.
USC’s Office of International Services oversees most of the programs for these learners. The OIS helps students before they leave their home countries and throughout their time at USC. Degree candidates can get assistance in getting the health insurance and vaccinations they need to live in the United States, maintaining their visas and documents for their dependents, and finding on-campus jobs that comply with their immigration statuses.
USC also offers international students several financial aid opportunities, including merit-based scholarships, off-campus jobs, and private funding. Certain departments within the university give international students monthly stipends.
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
|Champaign County, IL||
About 10,834 learners from 113 different countries attend this midwestern school. More than half of these learners hail from China. Other top countries include India, South Korea, and Taiwan. The school's international population is rapidly growing. In 2007, the university hosted only 5,288 foreign degree candidates.
The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office on the Urbana-Champaign campus provides international learners with many resources, such as intercultural training programs. The ISSS hosts several intercultural learning tracks for students with different backgrounds and academic goals. For example, the “orange track” covers obstacles in intercultural communication, common greetings from around the world, and how to respect cultures in the workplace.
The ISSS also gives students access to the travel, employment, tax, insurance, and housing forms they need to comply with federal and state laws.
Penn State University
|University Park, PA||
Penn State is the academic home to 9,909 graduate and undergraduate learners from other countries. The Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) provides services to these students and their American classmates who want to travel abroad. Through DISSA, international degree candidates can address various needs, including applying for health insurance coverage and maintaining their immigration statuses.
Students can also participate in the travel safety network, which keeps students safe wherever their studies take them. The office also hosts an exclusive orientation session for international students. Degree candidates can join any of Penn State’s 49 multicultural student organizations, which help learners make new friends and connect to other cultures. There are groups for many cultures, including the Armenian Student Association, Chinese Student and Scholars Association, Italian Student Society, and Latino Caucus.
BU hosts 9,742 international students from 140 countries. Like many institutions, the top five countries of origin for international students are China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Taiwan. BU has a particularly large Chinese student population, with 48% of foreign learners coming from there.
From the moment candidates in other nations show interest in the school to the day they leave BU, the university’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) offers guidance. Learners can contact the ISSO to address immigration, healthcare, employment, and tax paperwork. On-campus resources include in-person document reviews with experts.
BU has 39 cultural student organizations, including one for all international learners. Clubs also exist for students from specific countries, including Japan, Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, and China. BU provides several English language resources. Degree candidates can take intensive courses to improve their reading, writing, and speaking skills.
|West Lafayette, IN||
Not only does Purdue have 9,133 international students from 122 countries, but the university has a diverse workforce to match. The school's 1,309 faculty and staff members come from 69 foreign nations. Most of the foreign learners come from China and India. However, Purdue also hosts degree candidates from Colombia, Iran, Brazil, and Malaysia. About 41% of international students enter engineering programs, and 19% study science. Other popular areas of study include management, liberal arts, and agriculture.
Purdue takes care to update students' parents on what happens at Purdue, which is especially true for foreign degree candidates. The university encourages parents to email with questions, follow an exclusive Facebook page, and subscribe to the parent-centric newsletter.
Purdue’s Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research (CLIMAR) is the primary resource for foreign learners. CLIMAR offers workshops, volunteer opportunities, awards, grants, and mentors for students.
Michigan State University
|East Lansing, MI||
MSU hosts more than 9,000 students from other nations. The university helps these students through its Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). Like most schools with many foreign students, MSU helps learners obtain visas and enter the United States safely and legally. The school also provides health and wellness benefits. For example, the International Student and Scholar Support Program provides free counseling, helping students transition to life in a new country.
MSU places a lot of emphasis on student safety. The OISS gives international learners the information they need to drive, find housing, and navigate the culture safely. Scholars who need to brush up on English skills can visit the English Language Center (ELC) for help. The ELC has intensive courses, academic English classes, and online resources for English learners of all levels.
Although the number of international Hoosiers has declined in recent years, IU still enrolls 7,833 students from other nations. These learners can go to the school’s Office of International Services (OIS) to prepare necessary documentation. For 75 years, this office has helped international learners with obtaining visas, health insurance, cell phones, housing, and transportation.
Students with children can access affordable, on-campus child care during class. IU also offers 750 unique student organizations. Whether international learners want to join multicultural groups or do something unrelated to their countries of origin, they can find opportunities here. Eligible noncitizens can apply for the many scholarships, fellowships, and loans that IU offers. Some of the international student scholarships award up to $11,000 per year.
University of Washington
Since the Fall 2011 semester, UW has added nearly 3,000 international students to its Seattle campus. The university now hosts 7,356 learners from different nations. While many of these students come from China, they also hail from places like Zambia, Australia, Colombia, and Denmark. The International Student Services (ISS) office provides all UW international students with resources and guidance.
On the ISS website, learners can find information on travel, immigration, and working in the United States. The office also helps students overcome legal barriers to getting married and receiving visitors from their home country. Learners can also attend university information sessions where experts discuss issues like legal immigration, curricular practical training, optional practical training, and taxes. For financial assistance, students can apply for the school’s fellowships and awards. Degree candidates with children can utilize the childcare assistance programs.
University of Michigan
|Ann Arbor, MI||
6,965 of Michigan’s 46,002 students come from regions outside of the United States, including South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Most of these learners seek graduate degrees, but more than 2,000 are undergraduates. The Student Life International Center provides cultural and legal support to foreign students at all levels.
Upon their arrival, students attend immigration check-in sessions. In these meetings, immigration experts from the university ensure that each student’s paperwork is in order for school. Michigan provides several financial aid opportunities for international students. Although these learners cannot apply for federal programs, the university awards scholarships to deserving foreign students. Learners can earn up to $10,000 toward tuition with these awards. The school also has a special loan program for international students who need more financial assistance.
Ohio State University
OSU hosts 6,412 international students across all levels of academia. These learners come from many countries, but the top five are China, India, South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan. The school’s Office of International Affairs (IOA) helps foreign learners find success at OSU. Students can visit the IOA’s website to find information on immigration rules, funding sources, taxes, and housing.
Degree candidates who need legal assistance can contact OSU’s Office of Legal Affairs, which helps learners navigate the immigration system and confront any legal issues. This school also offers plenty of financial aid opportunities to international students, such as university-wide and departmental scholarships. Returning degree candidates may also qualify for the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program fellowship. Students who run into unexpected financial woes can apply for emergency relief through the school’s short-term university assistance program.
University of California - Berkeley
UC-Berkeley is the academic home to 6,345 international learners. About 62% of these students come from East Asia and the Pacific. However, this university also has a high proportion of foreign learners from Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. The population of international UC-Berkeley students has more than doubled in 10 years.
The institution’s International Office provides learners with support for issues such as housing, taxes, English learning, and traveling. UC-Berkeley has unique financial aid opportunities for international students. Learners can apply for merit-based awards, need-based scholarships, and loans through the school. UC-Berkeley also provides food, emergency financial, and medical assistance to students in need. To connect with classmates, students can join any of the 1,000 student groups on campus.
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
This Twin Cities campus hosts 6,267 international students, representing 130 international locations, with 4,999 students from Asian nations. Students who travel to the Twin Cities from other countries have several housing options. The school allows international learners to stay on campus in their apartments and dorms as well as offers housing assistance to students seeking off-campus living.
The institution’s office for International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) sponsors the International Buddy Program. Through this plan, ISSS connects learners with peer mentors who help them adjust to life in Minnesota. The office’s other programs connect international students to workshops, local events, and tours. Other services include resume workshops, counseling, academic advising, and English language support. Degree candidates can also get help writing papers through the ISSS support systems.
University of Texas - Dallas
This campus in the Dallas suburbs is home to 5,688 students from countries outside the United States. About 4,179 of these degree candidates are in master’s programs. Some of these learners travel with their families. UTD provides foreign student family members with newsletters, English classes, playdates for kids, and fun social events. Learners and their families can also attend on-campus workshops that cover topics regarding living in the United States.
UTD offers several financial assistance options. Graduate students can become teaching or research assistants to receive tuition waivers and monthly stipends. Learners can also apply for scholarships, loans, and on-campus jobs that cater to their unique needs.
Before arriving in Texas, international students should complete their university-issued checklists. They can then attend orientation for foreign students, which gives them the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the school.
University of California - San Diego
|San Diego, CA||
The San Diego campus of the UC system hosts 5,445 international students. About 82% of graduating seniors report having higher-than-average tolerance levels for people with different beliefs, and more than 84% of the same students say they can see the world from outside perspectives.
UCSD’s International Students and Programs Office provides many of the documentation services learners need to study in the United States. Degree candidates can find information on working in the country, paying taxes, enrolling in classes, and their legal rights on the office’s website.
Before learners travel to San Diego, they can attend webinars to help them understand the steps they should take to immigrate legally. Upon arrival, students attend orientation and can join on-campus groups. UCSD has more than 50 cultural student organizations. The school also has several English-language programs to help degree candidates hone their skills.
Carnegie Mellon University
In just 10 years, CMU grew its international student population from 2,383 to 5,426. The majority of CMU’s international degree candidates attend graduate-level courses, but international students still make up 23% of the university’s undergraduates.
The school’s Office of International Education (OIE) provides learners with logistical support during their transition to the United States and throughout their stay. It not only provides immigration and tax assistance, but the office also connects students to local volunteer host families. Degree candidates can receive more help through the OIE’s Settling In Guide.
CMU is also home to 280 student organizations, several of which cater to international students. The campus has student groups for Arab, Asian, Italian, Persian, Romanian, and Indian learners. Degree candidates can also join the Multicultural and Diversity Initiatives organization, which brings students from all backgrounds together.
The New School
|New York, NY||
The New School approaches higher education differently than traditional universities. One of the distinguishing features of the school is its diversity. With more than 3,000 students and scholars from 116 countries outside the United States, a large percentage of this small school are immigrants. For instance, the music school student body is 43% international.
The school partners with the Department of State and Department of Education to bring American and global students together during International Education Week. For this annual event, learners connect with professors, businesses, embassies, and community organizations.
Like the larger institutions on this list, The New School also offers assistance with immigration and visa paperwork. The school’s International Student Services office provides applicants with the necessary forms and instructions on how to apply for entrance to the United States. It also provides social security, transportation, and housing support.
Florida Institute of Technology
This small and reputable school in the Sunshine State has a total of 3,629 undergraduate students. Just under one-third of these students hail from countries outside the United States. Florida Tech’s Office Of International Student And Scholar Services (ISSS) welcomes these students with plenty of information on immigration. F, J, M, and H-1B visa holders can go to this office for expert help on all immigration issues.
The ISSS also hosts several programs and events to foster a sense of community among its global learners. For example, students meet weekly for International Coffee Hour to socialize and learn about student organizations on campus. Degree candidates can also take advantage of the school’s robust online resources section, accessing information on taxes, driving, Social Security numbers, Florida, financial assistance, and currency exchanges. The campus also has 10 cultural student organizations.
About 7,288 learners attend this private university, and 19% of them hail from other nations. These students benefit from the small class sizes and student-focused professors that this institution offers. The school also schedules class times and lengths so that learners have plenty of time to enjoy living in Boston. Before beginning classes for their major, international students can take one of Suffolk’s intensive English programs. The university has short courses for learners with little-to-no English skills and incoming graduate students. Incoming degree candidates can also enroll in the summer English course that involves cultural activities.
All of Suffolk’s learners from abroad must attend the school’s New International Student Program, which serves as an immigration check-in and introduction to the campus. Degree candidates can choose on-campus housing that is close to both the school and Boston’s biggest attractions. The school’s Home Away from Home program helps connect American students with their international peers.
Illinois Institute of Technology
Students from 100 countries outside the United States take courses at Illinois Tech. About 21% of the university’s undergraduate students and 62% of its graduate learners are international. The school’s International Center (IC) is the portal through which these degree candidates can get help. Learners can receive assistance with immigration services, employment documentation, and traveling through the IC website.
The IC also facilitates the I-Buddy Program, pairing new and returning international students together. Experienced learners show their buddies around campus, introduce them to life in Chicago, and help them make friends. The school also hosts an international Thanksgiving event each November, where students can enjoy food and friendship with classmates, staff, and faculty. Illinois Tech also offers 150 unique student organizations.
University of Tulsa
This private, nondenominational university gets 20% of its student population from nations outside the United States. These international students enjoy small class sizes. The school also offers six scholarships for foreign learners. Through these awards, degree candidates with strong academic records can earn up to $15,000 per year toward their education. The school often renews the scholarships so long as the students meet certain requirements. In many ways, TU emphasizes the importance of diversity among its students. This attention to cultural differences and community helped the campus earn the 2018 HEED Award for Diversity.
The campus has 31 cultural organizations for students of varying interests. First-time students attend orientation with their domestic classmates, which can foster a sense of unity. Learners may also bring their families to orientation so that they feel at ease. During school and after graduation, candidates can access the many career services that TU offers.
The first 20 spots on this list are the U.S. schools with the most international students. For this part of the ranking, we did not account for the total student body. Instead, we focused solely on the base number of foreign learners. The last five entries include small institutions with high percentages of global degree candidates. These schools often have higher rates of international students per capita but do not have a large student body. We obtained the data for these rankings from school websites.